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 :)

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