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