Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Awesome Week

     A lot of great things to write about this week. I really don't even know where to start. We've been working hard and have had some incredible lessons and experiences. I'll start off with telling your more about my ward and my new companion. 

     Elder Anderson is doing great. He is a great missionary and has a really strong desire to do the work. Him and I get along great and have a lot of the same interests. He really respects and looks up to me as his trainer. He is a funny kid and pretty goofy. I am very happy to have him as a companion. I feel so blessed to have had such great companions throughout my mission. I remember when getting set apart as a missionary that my Stake President blessed me that I would always have good companions, and I truly believe that promise to me has been kept. Now I have had some unusual situations with my companions, but I have never ever felt like they were bad companions. I've never gotten in a serious quarrel with any of my companions, not even as much as an argument. I've gotten along with all of my companions, and I feel that it is because I've had faith that the blessing that my Stake President gave me was truly inspired and true. I've learned so much from each one of my companions, and they've all been very different. I am grateful for my experiences with all of my companions and the preparation they've given me to find and get along with an eternal companion. I am grateful to have Elder Anderson as a companion, and I know that once again I've been blessed with a great companion. 

    The ward is doing incredible. I just can't express this enough, I love this ward. The respect that we've gained as missionaries in this ward is phenomenal. We have a rock solid foundation of trust in this ward. It is something that I don't want to lose, and will always strive to maintain. I am convinced that the best way to help people do missionary work is to lead by example. Be a light unto the ward and let them fall in love with you and missionary work. I mentioned Austin Varney in my last email. He is the young man that we go out with occasionally. This kid is awesome and has been a great example to the ward. Austin gave a talk in Church this Sunday and told of his many awesome missionary experiences that he's had with us. He told of the awesome experience that we had teaching a less active youth and teaching him the Plan of Salvation. He told of how I've invited him to talk with his friends and recognize the missionary opportunities that God gives to him, and how he made an appointment with his High School counselor that expressed interest in the Church before. His talk was great and really showed people how easy it is to get involved in missionary work. 
     Bishop Clay is an incredible Bishop and is so helpful and really loves us. He is a great leader and has really gotten the whole Ward council very involved in missionary work. All of the ward council members really trust Elder Anderson and I, they want us to succeed. President Roberts the EQP is one of my favorite members. Talk about a great example, this guy is astounding. He is such a fan of Elder Anderson and I and does so much to help us out. 

      Alright, time to tell you of the awesome missionary experiences that we've had this week. To start out I will tell you of the lesson that we had last Monday night with a guy named Idris. He is the boyfriend of one of the members of the ward. He was raised in a muslim home, but is not a practicing muslim. He is very logical, open-minded, and smart. We taught him in a member's home, the Greene Family. I could go on a large tangent about how much I love the Greene family, but just know that they are awesome. So we taught Idris the restoration in the Greene's home Monday night and it was one of the best lesson's I've ever been part of. It was just so clear, and understanding was there. Idris just got it. I love watching people understand and comprehend the Restoration of the Gospel. It just shows how true it is. It makes sense! 

      Next, we got to teach Bro Ellsworth again this week with President Roberts. My goodness is this man intelligent. He asked questions that I've never heard before, but are sincere and really made me think. I LOVE teaching intelligent people, because they truly push you and make you reach and study to find the answers. Bro Ellsworth has never read The Book of Mormon, and has refused to read it for quite awhile. His reason didn't seem very valid on why he wouldn't read. So during the lesson we tried to explain as clearly as we could why The Book of Mormon is really the key to understanding everything that we have to say. And if you don't read The Book of Mormon, then there really is no way to know whether or not we are right, or we are wrong. It is the evidence. He must've understood, because he is currently tearing through The Book of Mormon. During sacrament meeting this Sunday he wasn't even aware of the speakers, because he had his nose in The Book of Mormon the whole time. A member of the ward came up to me and said, "How did you do it?" and I said, "Do what?" And she said, "Get Brother Ellsworth to read the Book of Mormon! You don't even understand how incredible this is, do you?" I guess I didn't, but it is pretty great that he is reading! 

       This Sunday we had eight of our investigators come to church. We had Yolanda's kids Isaac, DeAngelo, and Dallas come to church. Then of course Regina and her family also attended. There isn't too many other things that make me as happy as seeing my investigators come to church. Seeing Yolanda's kids come to church was awesome. She said that she has been trying forever to get them to come, and now they've come! This was huge. 

        Last experiences that I want to write about is our dinner with Olga and Dexter. I wrote about Olga awhile ago and how I showed her my drivers license and BYUID to show her that I don't want to be a stranger. So we haven't had a chance to see her for a little while, she works a lot. However we have had the chance to see her husband Dexter quite often. Olga is from Russia, and Dexter is from Guyana. They've got a very interesting story. Dexter is a really funny guy. He is a chemical engineer and races BMW's that he buys and fixes up. He is awesome. So on Saturday we had an appointment to see them at four o clock. Luckily I've taken the time to get to know the members and their lives, so I was able to bring the PERFECT team up. Our team ups name was Brother Barthelus. This member is one of my favorites, he is so cool and also restores BMW's and is from Haiti. Brother Bathelus + Dexter = BFF's. Haha, they hit it off so well. Unfortunately we were unable to share a lesson with them right then because they had to get a form to one of their employees. When Olga came out I said to her, "Olga! When are we going to feed us?" and she laughed and said, "Well I can put something together for later tonight, so how about you come over in about two hours!" And we said that sounded great. Two hours later we went over with Austin and had an incredible night. We really got to know them, and they really got to know us. They really love Mormons now and are very interested in the Church! They were very interested in the Book of Mormon. This was one of my favorite nights of my mission. 

        Well, this was a great week. I can't believe that February is almost over. That is just so crazy. My mission has flown by, before I know it I will be back in Utah. I have learned so much on this incredible story. I love this Church so much, and I really have come to know that it is true. I just have no doubt in my mind or heart. I love you all so much and miss you all so much. 

-Elder Ryan Romero 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Wow! What a Week

    Wow, what a week. The whole mission was warned about the ice storm that was supposed to occur on Wednesday. I thought that it was all just hype do to the last "Snow Storm". I was wrong. Haha. I've never seen something quite like this storm. When I heard that we're going to have "freezing rain" I thought to myself, well why don't they just call that snow? Isn't that what snow is, frozen rain? Haha. Wednesday morning I woke up to the sound of all these scratching noises at the window. I thought that somebody was taking a fork to the window and was scraping it up and down our window. Of course it was not that, it was the freezing rain. When I went out side everything, and I mean EVERYTHING had a thin sheet of ice on it. Every leaf of the trees, the branches, the blades of grass, just everything that was outside was covered with ice. It was astounding. When I walked out to the parking lot I saw an ice skating rink. Seriously, a layer of ice about two inches thick. There wasn't snow on the ground, just a layer of ice. Haha. I've never seen anything like it. Everything was shut down. We walked over to Walmart and they were only letting a few people in the store at a time. Everything was almost gone off the shelves. I felt like I was in a Zombie apocalypse. Basically the only place that was open was Waffle house. 
     Alright, I need to back up and tell you about my new companion I got on Tuesday, and then I'll finish my story about the storm. My new companions name is Elder Anderson. He is from Pocatello Idaho. He's fresh out of the MTC. We were informed that transfers were going to be canceled on Wednesday due to the weather, but weren't updated on what we were going to do for transfers until Tuesday morning. Tuesday at 9AM we get a call telling us that transfers are going to be in an hour, so pack your backs and get to the meeting point. Luckily I didn't have any bags to pack, but Elder Tshuma was getting transferred so we had to run over to the Centerville Elder's apartment and let him finish packing. It was a crazy rush. We got to the church building at 10AM but I didn't get my companion until 4PM. Haha. I was happy when I finally got my new companion and got to know him. Elder Anderson is awesome and I am really glad that I have the opportunity to train again. He has got a strong testimony of the Gospel and really wants to do the work. He is ready for his mission. 
     Alright, back to the snow storm. Elder Anderson I'm sure was very surprised to see the weather the very next day. He probably thought that he left the cold. In the afternoon on Wednesday we get a call from the Centerville Elders telling us that they forgot their charger at our apartment, so they needed to come and get it. Unfortunately for them, Wednesday was a no driving day. So they had to walk about three miles to come to our apartment. After about an hour and a half they showed up at our apartment. A little before they showed up at our apartment we finished a lesson over the phone with Regina and Sister Clay. It was a great little lesson over the phone. We went over the Restoration again and gave Elder Anderson a chance to brush up on his teaching skills. He did a great job. Regina just gets it. She is incredible. So once the Elders got to our apartment we decided that we would go out and try and find some people to teach. We decided to go to the only place that we knew would be open, Waffle House. That place doesn't close down for anything. Man this was a great experience. We met some great people. There were only about ten people in the restaurant including us. It was like a little home and we just starting talking with all the workers and the people that were in the restaurant. Some of the people I remember were Anaya, Miss Wanda, Frank, Doug from New Orleans, and C-C. I love talking with people in public places and just getting to know them. It has become so easy and natural for me to strike up a conversation with anyone. It is a piece of cake, just as easy as, "Hey, how long have you worked here for? Do you like it?" and then just turn it to a Gospel conversation. We walked in as strangers to everyone in the restaurant and walked out best friends with everyone. We ended up praying with the whole restaurant over all of our food. It was so much fun. It is amazing what you can find out about people by just taking the time to ask them some questions. 
     After we finished up with Waffle house we decided to walk back with the Centerville Elders back to their apartment and talk with people on the way. Surprisingly there were people outside! Most of them were in the same shoes we were in, they couldn't drive. On the way we met some really nice people Chris, Daisy, Marlene, Shane, and Abdoul. I love sharing the Gospel. It is so easy to do when I am in a good mood. I have come to realize that I have a great gift to relate and talk with people. I can make them feel comfortable, and to teach them clearly to their understanding. After two days the snow/ice was completely gone. It left as quickly as it came. It didn't limit us too much from doing missionary work as we normally would. I really enjoyed our snow day. It was so much fun. 

      So we have Sisters Missionaries in our ward. I don't know if I've mentioned that before. Our sister missionaries got white-washed, another surprise to the whole ward. They were great Sisters and had a good relationship with the ward. It is crazy to think that this ward has complete new missionaries. When we got the two new sister missionaries, it meant that I was now the most senior missionary in the ward. It was strange because I felt like I was in their shoes just yesterday. We got a chance to sit down this week and inform them on everything that I knew about their area and everything that I knew about the ward. It was incredible how much I've learned about this ward and how much I've come to love this ward. I often found myself going on and on about how much I loved the members and how awesome they are. I couldn't tell them enough about how awesome Bishop Clay is and how helpful he is. Truly one of the best, if not the best, Bishops I've served with on my mission. I really do love this ward and the people that I've met. They are really so helpful and loving. They really love me and care about how I'm doing. I am so glad that I've taken the time to get to know the members of this ward and given them the opportunity to get to know who I am. 

      Let me tell you about Regina and Alvin! So they probably aren't going to be baptized this weekend, but our faith is still their! They now have a baptismal date for March 8th. A very important day for me because it's my birthday! Haha. But even more important for them because it is the day they are going to be baptized. This week we had a great lesson with Regina and Alvin. They are really opening up to the idea of getting married. Alvin is very scared of getting a divorce, and the affect it would have on the kids. He has a bad taste in his mouth about marriage due to the unsuccessful marriages that he's seen in his life. We told Alvin that he's got to have faith that it will work out. I told him that he's got to realize that his kids probably would not know the difference of a divorce if they were married and if they were to get separated right now. They've been together as long as the kids have been alive, marriage will only be good for them. Regina was incredible during this lesson. The whole lesson she was just encouraging Alvin saying, "We'll be living the commandments.", "Then we could get baptized." and all sorts of great comments. She is so on board and ready to go. Please pray for this family. They are so ready, the kids are incredible. Dantavian gives the cutest prayers. Regina called me last night and said, "I forgot to tell you what happened after you guys left the other night. Remember how I was volunteering Alvin to say the prayer but he wanted you to say it? Well when you left LaClaudia came down stairs and grabbed both of our hands and started trying to pray. She didn't know what words to say so Alvin started to help her out. It was so cute." I told Regina that it is stories like that that make my day. Goodness I love this family. Please please pray for them. 

      Guess who came to Church this Sunday! Yolanda! It was the greatest! She loved it. It was her second time at Church and she seemed to really enjoy it. We are going to be seeing her tomorrow and follow up on a lot of things with her and hopefully set a baptismal date with her! Please pray for Yolanda. 

       I have to tell you about an incredible person in the ward. Bro Ellsworth is his name. He is not a member of the Church. He has been married to Sister Ellsworth for about five years. Bro Ellsworth was not raised in any religion, and I've heard from other members that he just doesn't believe that their is a God. He is an incredible guy, so nice and is such a great Dad. He comes every Sunday to support his wife and step-kids. I feel like that Brother Ellsworth is the type of people that I can relate most with. If it was not for the Church and the Book of Mormon, I could honestly say that I would probably be in his shoes. Last week I got a chance to go over to their home with President Roberts and we had a good little chat with the Ellsworth family. Turns out that Brother Ellsworth and I have a LOT in common, we get along great. Near the end of the visit I asked Brother Ellsworth how much he knew about the Church before he and his wife got married. He said he knew about it, but not much. He then told me that he's met with quite a few missionaries since they've been married, but just none of them could really relate with him or answer his questions. I told Brother Ellsworth that I can't say for sure that I am going to be the missionary that will baptize him, but I want a shot to teach him. Hahaha. I told him that just from our conversation that I can tell that we have a lot in common, and he agreed. I said that if it was not for this Church, I think that I would be in his same shoes. He agreed to let me teach him, and so we set an appointment to meet on Thursday. So this past Thursday we met and had an INCREDIBLE conversation. You really have to approach agnostic people like himself differently than you approach Christians. I asked Brother Ellsworth what he thinks about Christianity, and religion in general. He told me that he doesn't think that Christianity's evidence quite backs up it's claims. I told him that I agree, he was surprised by my response. I told him that that is probably the reason if it wasn't for this Church I would be in his exact shoes. I told him that I think that is very funny when Christian people approach us with Anti-Mormon literature in attempt to prove us false. I told Brother Ellsworth that what we believe, and what we claim is the proof that there is a God and that Christianity is true. Without us, the Christian religion hangs by a very thin thread. When someone approaches us with Anti-Mormon literature, it would be easy as pie to spill out Anti-Christian or Anti-Bible literature. Mainstream Christian's don't realize that their own history is far more faulty than what Mormon history seems to be. The Book of Mormon is not true because the Bible is true. The Bible is true because The Book of Mormon is true. The miracles and evidence that Jesus Christ has provided us through Joseph Smith are the most convincing things, besides the confirmation of the Holy Ghost of course, that Jesus really did live and that everything that you read in the Bible is actually true! Brother Ellsworth never considered that Mormon's history and evidence the Church's mere existence could perhaps be the evidence that he is looking for that there is a God. He said after the lesson that he definitely wants to know more about the Book of Mormon and it's coming forth. This Thursday we will be meeting with him again. I am so excited! 

        This week we also had interviews with President Harding. I just want to write really quick about how much I love my Mission President. He is such an incredible guy. During the interview I realized that I would not change a single thing about my mission and the choices that God has mad for me through President Harding. I've had an incredible mission, and that because it's been what the Lord has wanted for me. Many times I've wanted to fight against some of the decisions that have been made. I realize now that if I would have had my way it would have perhaps bee the worst thing that could have ever happened! Because the miracles that I've seen may have not happened. President Harding really opened up to me as approached the end of my mission and let me know what he thought about me and the work I've done. He had a lot of nice things to say. It was really what I needed to hear. Not that I need compliments and strive for praise. Not at all that. I just know that when President Harding speaks, it is what the Lord wants for me. I care less that President Harding thinks I've done a good job, I just know after our conversation that the Lord really is happy with the work I've done. That is what matters most to me. 

        Well I am out of time, this was a great week and I am excited for the next week! I love you all. 

-Elder Ryan Romero 
The Cairn Family

Waitress folded her tip into a heart

Elder Andersen, Elder Romero and ….two other elders :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Flying Solo

  I am still without an official companion. I got the call this morning about transfers and it looks like I am going to be training a new missionary again. I am surprised that they would trust me with another one. Haha. I am just kidding. I love training. This is the sixth missionary that I have trained on my mission. I just can't believe that. It looks like that Snellville may be my last area. That is just crazy to think. Well, I love this ward. This is a really great ward and the members here are so helpful and they really seem to enjoy working with me. I feel very excepted here and appreciated. I know that the new missionary that I have is going to be coming into a great ward, and a lot of great teaching opportunities. 

     This week has been pretty crazy, obviously. During most of the day I have been with members of the Snellville Ward, but during the night and mornings I have been with the Centerville Elders. Their names are Elder Holt and Elder Tshuma. Elder Tshuma actually came out to the mission the same time that I did, except we weren't in the same district in the MTC. I love these two Elders to death. It has been a blast being with them, and we've had a lot of great experiences serving together. I really respect these two Elders, it has been awesome getting to know them. Elder Tshuma is from Zimbabwe and is a convert to the church. Elder Holt is from Utah and is very similar to a lot of the friends that I've had back home. These two Elders are great workers and teachers. I have learned a lot from them. We've had some pretty funny moments together. Elder Tshuma cracks me up, him and I joke around with each other. We've had some pretty funny conversations about his life back home in Africa. One of the best ones was about why he wants to get married here in the United States and not back home. He says that he doesn't want to pay the "wife tax" or something along those lines. And I said, "Elder Tshuma, what in the world is that?" And he laughed and said, "Well when you marry someone you have to pay their father with a certain amount of cows. And I don't have any cows, so I want to get married here." Hahaha, I was laughing so hard. I felt like I was in Johnny Lingo. A few days ago Elder Holt lost his wallet and we were looking everywhere for it, and I asked him if he's prayed to find it yet. He said that he hasn't. Right then we all got together and said a prayer that we could find his wallet or know if it was stolen so that we could cancel the cards. After the prayer I told him that we needed to look in the car again for it. Less than a minute later he found his wallet in the trunk of the car in his jacket. Revelation! 

      I have had a lot of good opportunities to teach my investigators this week and to find new ones too. I had an incredible lesson with Yolanda this week. I taught he with a High Priest from the ward named Bro Becknell, he is a great guy. Every time we teach Yolanda, she is sort of antagonistic at the start of the lesson. The adversary really works on her between lessons. She does not feel that feel comfortable with The Book of Mormon because she feels like everything that she needs is in the Bible. Near the start of the lesson she asked us, "If Jesus were to come back right now and I was not part of your Church, would I go to hell?" Now of course we know the answer to that question is, "No." However, if you just answer that question as "No." then you run the risk of making the investigator think that your message is not important to their salvation. Our idea of salvation is different than most Christians. To the modern Christian, it really is just Heaven or Hell. There is no in-between. That is what Yolanda has been taught her whole life. To them, there is not much different between immortality and eternal life. Both are forms of salvation. Unfortunately, the last time that we taught her the Plan of Salvation, we were not able to finish the entire lesson. We had to end at the spirit world because of time. I think that that really happened for a purpose though, because this question that Yolanda had was addressed through teaching the rest of the Plan of Salvation. We told Yolanda that, "No. Of course you won't go to hell. You are incredible person and you are surely not going to burn in the depths of hell for eternity. We don't believe that way. We believe that everyone will be rewarded according to their heart and works. A loving Father would not throw his child in the furnace for making a mistake. However, he is going to be just and reward the righteous differently than the less-valiant." What Yolanda said next was amazing. Just like when we taught her the Plan of Salvation before, you could see all the pieces starting to connect in her head. She said, "You know, I've always believed that way. I have believed that there are levels to heaven." Right when she said that I threw my hands to my forehead. And she looked at me and laughed, because she knew exactly what I was thinking. Time and time again I have told Yolanda that she has been prepared by the Lord to hear our message. I've told her that the things that she has learned in her past Churches and while growing up have prepared her to know our message is true and accept it. Whenever I would say this, I don't think it really sunk in. I think that she thought that I just said this to everyone. So when I put my hands to my head and she saw me she said, "Don't say it Elder Romero!" And I said, "Say what Yolanda?" And she said, "That I've been prepared." She laughed, and then I told her that there is no denying the truthfulness of this Gospel. I told her that before I came out on my mission I doubted that I would ever have experiences like the one I was having with her. But they are a normal occurrence to a missionary. I doubted because I didn't have as strong of a testimony as I do now, but now I am just not even surprised by them because they happen so often. I told her that experiences like these are special though, and the Lord gives them to us to help build our faith, and we can't waste or forget them. We have got to act. Yolanda was amazed by the rest of her message and she new that it was true before we even taught it. She told us that her belief in different levels of heaven was not something that she learned in any Church, but something that she has always just felt was right. I love being a missionary and watching the truth unfold itself before my eyes. 

      Regina is doing great. Her and Alvin still aren't married, but they are still progressing and doing incredible. Regina's intent is so real and righteous. She loves the Church and loves everything that she has learned. The Bishop's wife, Sister Clay, is very close with Regina and helps her out a lot. Sister Clay texted Regina and asked if she needed a ride to Church and Regina texted back and said, "I am not a person that expresses herself well verbally, but I feel loved and accepted by you and the members. I feel as if I found a new family." I was so thankful that Sister Clay forwarded me this text message. It is experiences like this that make everything I do seem worth it. Regina and I have become very close. She loves me and my cheerful personality. She told me just the other day, "You know, if you were having a bad day, I would never now it. You always seem so cheerful and happy." Hahaha. I thought that it was funny that she said that, because that day actually wasn't the best day because I lost the keys to my apartment. I don't know what it is, but I just can't be said when I am around people who are interested in learning more about the Gospel. I didn't have to act happy around Regina. I was happy to be with Regina, and I was happy that she was sincerely seeking truth. No matter what kind of day I am having, I am happy when I am in a lesson teaching the Gospel. My favorite thing is seeing Regina and her family at Church. I love her kids so much. I love seeing Tre and Dantavian with their matching clothes. And LaClaudia in her cute little dress and hat. That truly is the greatest thing to see. 

      That is about all that I have to write about for this week. It has been great spending a lot of personal time with the members of the Snellville ward. It has been so strange being the only missionary at dinner appointments. It has been so strange speaking in the singular and saying sentences like, "I really appreciate you." and "I really thank you for coming out with me." Hahaha. It has really given me a good opportunity to let the members get to know me and let me get to know the members. I really love the Bishop in this ward. He has got to be one of my favorite Bishops I've had on my mission. Monday night I got to spend quite a bit of time. We went out to teach some lessons and then he took me to go get some frozen yogurt. It was a great little experience, it was like going out with my Dad when I was a kid. Haha. One of my other favorite members is a guy named Brother Tackett. He is the second counselor in the bishopric. Man is he a great guy. So sincere and has a great testimony. He is a big hiker, backpacker, and outdoors man. He told me that he has always wanted to hike Mount Timpanogos, so I told him that right when I get home we are going to go hike it! On Sunday he told me about how he went to go swim with the manatees in Florida, and he told me that next December we could go do that. Haha. I love this guy, he is so great. 

       Well I love you all so much. Have a great week! The Church is true. 

-Elder Ryan Romero 
Elder Romero and Elder Andersen…6 hours after Elder Andersen arrived in the Mission field! Dinner with the Richards family

Monday, February 3, 2014

Crazy, Crazy Week

     Don't be too scared by the title of this email. Everything is a-okay! Elder Rose has gone home. He is back in Salt Lake City. Everything is okay. He wasn't "sent home" but he did go home. He was having a pretty rough time out in the mission field. I don't think that he was quite ready for it. Like I said he was a very quite and shy guy. Unfortunately, he just did not enjoy missionary work. He wasn't happy. I loved Elder Rose and was really rooting for him to stay. Him and I got along well and I really feel like we were friends. Elder Rose was perfectly worthy and obedient in every way. A proselyting mission did just not seem to fit his needs. He is hoping to serve a service mission back home. I really hope that he is able to serve in some sort of capacity. I have learned a lot from this experience, just as I did the last time I had a new missionary go home. Goodness, everyone is going to think that I am the worst trainer on earth. Haha. Really, there was no companionship problems in either case. I've loved all my companions. I just know that there is a reason for all things. For example, if Elder Grassley never went home, I would have never been Elder Armenta's companion. This week I have been on the look out to see what the Lord has in store for me and watch his plan unfold before my eyes. Let me tell you what I've observed. 

      Currently I am working my area alone. Well, not alone. Missionaries can't be alone. My com anions are members from the Ward that have agreed to be with me throughout the day. The goal is for me to always have a companion so that I continually work in my area. Otherwise I will have to be in a tripanionship with other Elders and the time would be split between the two areas. Elder Rose going home was quite a shock for the Ward. When I was a solo missionary on Sunday everyone was kind of confused and looking around the corner for my companion. Haha. When I told them the situation they were very understanding. 
      The day I found out that Elder Rose was going home I texted President Roberts (our awesome EQP) and told him the situation. I told him that I will be spending the morning and night with the Centerville Elders (the ward bordering Snellville) but will still be continuing to work the Snellville area. I told him that I needed as much help from the EQ and the HP Group for companions so that I can continue to get work done in the ward and work won't slow down in either area. I told you about President Roberts before and how much I love and respect this man. The next morning in ward council President Roberts turned to the council and said, "Let's talk straight here. We have not been blessed with a streak of good missionaries. The Lord has finally blessed us with Elder Romero. He loves the Gospel and is able to teach it, and we need to take care of him and the work in this area. I really feel that the Lord has given us an opportunity to step up to the plate and show him that we can do missionary work. That we want to have success in this ward. Otherwise if we don't utilize a good missionary when we have them, I feel like we will suffer the consequences in the future." I was honored to have such nice things said about me, but did not get caught up in myself. President Robert's statement was not intended to be a praise to me, but a revelation to the ward. He revealed to me the opportunity that the Lord has presented to me and the ward. As I said, I do believe that things happen for a purpose, and this may very well be the purpose. The Snellville ward has had trouble with missionary work for various reasons. I strongly feel and believe that the Lord is hastening the work in this area. 
       At the start of Priesthood the quorums were all told to stay for five extra minutes before they head off to their rooms. During this five minutes he said basically what he said in Ward Council and encouraged all the Priesthood to get on board with the Lord and his missionaries. He says that he truly feels that the Lord has give the Snellville ward an opportunity to show the Lord that they love him. He told them that he truly feels like we need to accept do what the Lord requires of us right now or else we won't be blessed with good missionaries in the future. He said, "I am not a Prophet, but that is what I feel is true." Goodness, I love President Roberts. The spirit was so strong as he was speaking and it was one of the most powerful moments I've felt in a Priesthood meeting. After his little speech the Elders and High Priests really jumped up to the plate and said they would come out with me. Not the usual individuals, but all of the Priesthood. It was incredible. 
       I agree with President Roberts. I truly feel like this week could very well be one of the most important weeks of my mission. This is a week to show all the members what missionary work is all about. It is an opportunity to have them literally step into the shoes of a missionary, not be a third party observer, but be my companion as we go and talk with everyone on the streets and preach inside Walmart and people's homes. It is a prime opportunity to show this Ward how incredible and easy missionary work is. I intend on getting these members in all sorts of different finding and teaching situations so that they can see first hand how incredible this work is. Goodness, I am just so excited! 

       Now I have to tell you about one of the most incredible experiences that I have had my whole entire mission. This was perhaps one of the most spiritual experiences that I have had my whole life. It is sacred to me. I do not write it to flaunt it, to get attention for it, or any other selfish reason. I debated writing about it, but I feel like I need to. I don't know who reads these letters. I know that my Mom posts them on a blog, so I really don't know who reads them. My hope in sharing this experience is that those who read this letter who are not members, or who may have fallen away may feel the spirit through my testimony. Maybe, just maybe they will hope to find out more or come back to the fold. Because I know this Gospel to be true. I love this Gospel and I want to share it with the World. My only intent in sharing this experience is that those of you who read this may feel the spirit of my testimony. 

      Last night I had dinner with the Richards Family. They are a great family in the ward. Their son Chad was my companion that night and it was my first time having dinner in their home. I loved getting to know the family. Sister Richards is very into photography so her and I had some good conversations about cameras and pictures. Dinner went well and we had some more good conversation. Near the end of dinner I told them that I wanted to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon with them, just the last two paragraphs and discuss the significance of their words. Those paragraphs are a pretty normal or routine thing that missionaries read. I think that people often look over the depth of what it is actually saying, and they don't really connect WHY you will come to know that Jesus is the Christ, Joseph was a Prophet, and this Church is true just by reading and praying about a book. There is so much depth to each one of these three things and why you will come to know their truthfulness when you read and pray about the Book of Mormon. As we talked and discussed they could really see my love and passion for this Book of scripture.  In the middle of me speaking Brother Richards jumped to his feet and said, "Elder, I have something to show you." When he came back he had a bag with a very old looking book in it. I immediately knew what it was and jumped to my feet. I almost tipped over the table. I asked him what year it was printed, but he didn't answer. He put on these special clothe gloves and opened up the bag, and then opened up another bag inside that bag. As he was working on getting the book he said, "Elder, I rarely show this to people. But I feel like I need to show it to you." He pulled out the book and opened it up to the title page. He said, "Elder could you read that for me?" I read it with my voice shaking. "The Book of Mormon." and he said what does that say at the bottom and I read, "Palmyra: Printed by E.B. Grandin, for the Author. 1830." I realized that before my eyes was an actual first edition of the Book of Mormon. My heart started to pound quickly and I started to get that warm shaky feeling you get during testimony meeting. I felt like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. I love antiques, and usually when something old and of worth gets in front of me my first thought is, "Man, I wonder how much I could get for it on Ebay?" But of course that was not my first thought. My first thought was about the young boy Joseph in the grove praying to know truth, and our Father in Heaven and his beloved son Jesus Christ standing before this newfound Prophet. And then Moroni burying the plates and then years later guiding Joseph to them. As I stared in aww at the book's aged condition my mind went through the process and the trials it took to get the plates translated and published. I have read so much about Joseph and his history and I can say that I truly know and love him and his history. Then my mind went to the book itself, and this was the most powerful thought process of them all. I don't think even Joseph really knew the events that were going to transpire once the Book was published. When The Book of Mormon was published it took on a life of its own. A life that only God could give. I began to think about how much this book meant to me and how it has changed my life, and before I realized it I couldn't see anymore. My eyes were filled with tears and it was quite embarrassing. Luckily I was in the midst of loving members who understood that before me was not just some book, but literal proof that there is a God in Heaven. That is how I view the Book of Mormon. Literal proof that there is a God. Proof that CANNOT BE DISMISSED. EVIDENCE THAT MUST BE ACCOUNTED FOR. It keeps critics of the Church up at night, as it should. It is a stumbling stone to all those that want to try to disprove Joseph's divine intervention. It is something that must be explained and has been trying to be explained since it's publication. However it can only be explained and understood through the Holy Ghost. And that is what I've done. And that is why I know it is true. It has changed my life. Goodness. I am running out of time. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to behold the most important piece of history that exists in my life. It was an experience I will never forget. I can't find words to describe it. 

Well I love you all so much! 

-Elder Ryan Romero