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 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Diamond in the Rough

     This week did not start out well, but throughout the week it improved and turned out to be a pretty good week. I have learned so much about myself on my mission. I am so grateful for the members of this ward and the love that they show towards the missionaries. I am thankful for the missionaries in this District. I have realized the best thing to do when things really get hard, is just to work harder and quit worrying about my problems. Sitting there and sulking does not do much, it only makes you more depressed. I can't say that every time I have gotten discouraged that I've shot up and started to work harder, I wish that that was the case… I am not perfect but I am striving to become better. It is through my trials that I have really learned the most about life, myself, and other people. My trials have been the most valuable moments on my mission. I am thankful for them.
     I don't know what to say right now. Sometimes when I sit down at the computer to write out this email I just go blank. I can't believe how quickly time has went by. It feels like yesterday that I was sitting down at this computer writing out an email. It seems like yesterday that I was putting in my mission papers to serve a mission, and now I can't believe that it is almost over. I just cannot believe all that has happened to me in the past twenty months. I just don't feel like I've learned enough, or done enough to be almost finished with my mission. I learn so much every single day. I have learned so much about the Gospel and my Father in Heaven and his son Jesus Christ. 

     Well let me tell you about my week. Like I said, this week started out pretty rough, but we did have some successes. We have gotten to meet with a lot of less-active members of the Ward. Members of the ward that originally were extremely difficult to get an appointment with to sit down in their home. The Ward Council is very happy with the doors that we are getting into and the relationships that we are making with the ward. We had six investigators come to church this Sunday. We had the Reynolds family, ALVIN INCLUDED! And they got a car, so they drove themselves! We had Brother Ellsworth, who sat in sacrament again with his nose drilled inside The Book of Mormon. And DeAngelo, one of Yolanda's sons came again this week. A very good Sunday. 

     We had quite a few great lessons this week. The two I will focus on will be the our lessons with Brother Ellsworth and the Reynolds family. Last week I told you about our lesson with Brother Ellsworth and his consent to read The Book of Mormon. Brother Ellsworth, as I've mentioned before, is a very smart guy. He not religious, and struggles a bit with the concept of faith. The Book of Mormon truly is the keystone of our religion and speaks for itself. Our lesson that we had with him this week after him having read The Book of Mormon was incredible. He is started to understand more and more why The Book of Mormon truly is a miracle. He is started to understand its significance and why we rely on it for the foundation of our testimonies. Brother Ellsworth is one of my favorite people to teach. I LOVE teaching people like him, because they make you stretch and ask questions that you've never asked yourself before. He's asked some of the most interesting and sincere questions that I've ever heard. They aren't ridiculous or antagonistic. Brother Ellsworth has real concerns, and really wants to know the truth. I love people like him. If it was not for this religion, I would probably be in the same shoes as him. I am so excited to visit again with him this week. I forgot to mention how incredible of an experience this is for the whole Ellsworth family, this is a great experience for all of them. 

     Alright, Regina and Alvin. Haha. Oh how I love this family. This week we had a lesson with them about Families in the Plan of Salvation. We took with us one of my favorite members, Brother Barthelus. It was a great discussion. The best part of the lesson was the end, when Alvin said, "Pretty soon I'll have a wife!" Wow that was music to our ears. Saturday night I had a dream that Alvin proposed to Regina and gave her this humongous ring. The diamond looked like an ice cube. Haha. Well that Sunday I chose to be extra observant to Regina's ring finger in Sunday school, and guess what was on it!? A ring! A ring that was not there before, but was a lot more humble than the one in my dream. Haha. It is just a matter of time before they get married and are baptized. I truly feel like it will be very soon, gosh I love them so much. I really hope that I can be here for their wedding and baptism! 

     I love the members of this ward. We went out with President Roberts again this week. He is such a cool guy, I truly feel like he is my friend. I intend in keeping in touch with the members of this ward. I really love this ward. There are so many awesome members of this ward. 

     Well, I have got to get going. I hope that all is well back in the Salt Lake Valley. Love you all. 

-Elder Ryan Romero