Monday, June 9, 2014

Working Hard

 Time is going by so fast, I just don't even know what to say. I have been struggling to keep my eyelids open for the past five weeks. Haha, doesn't help that I am the driver. Just a few days ago as we were praying before we left the car to go and see a family I fell asleep right in the middle of the prayer. It was pretty funny. We've been waking up and 6AM and going on a five mile run. I had this goal in Dallas, but wasn't able to complete it. I wanted to run 100 miles in one transfer. It looks like that I am going to be able to do it this transfer. I am so thankful to have a companion that pushes me and has truly helped me become a better person. I have learned so much from my companions and have really learned the importance of choosing an eternal companion that will help me learn and grow.
     Celentria unfortunately was not baptized this weekend. She is still having a bit of trouble with the Word of Wisdom. She is doing great right now and things are really looking great for this weekend. I am so excited for her. The ward is really looking up. Our bishop has been a lot more supportive and has actually come out on team ups with us! We had some really great experiences going out with the members. It is so important to help each member that comes out with you have a spiritual experience. This week we took out with us a High Priest in the Ward named Brother Williams. We went and so a potential investigator that we met a few days before. When we went over the lady we were looking for wasn't there. Her sister was the one that answered the door. We asked if we could share a message about Christ with her and she let us in. The lesson went great! I love teaching so much. I love helping people and lifting their vision. We invited her to be baptized and set a date for July 5th. Her name is Raven and she is awesome. Brother Williams was so impressed that in priesthood this Sunday he shared his experience with the body of the Priesthood. It was a very good step in the right direction for the ward.
     Lately I have been studying in depth the Fall and the Atonement. I don't have much time to write all that I have learned. My plans are to write a book when I get home. I am publicly announcing this. So whoever reads this has to keep me accountable. I love the scriptures. They have truly become my best friend on the mission, and I am so comfortable with them.
      This week we had mission council, it went really great. I learned a lot and love being around all of those missionaries. I really love President Harding so much and am so grateful to have him as my mission President. He is an amazing man and I have learned so much from him. I feel like this mission is the best mission in the world. The culture and the structure of it truly makes a saint. President Harding is so inspired. This mission requires so much of its missionaries. I am so grateful to have served here in Georgia under President Harding. I have learned to be obedient and submit, I have learned to work hard, and I have learned what I want for my future.
       The reality of me going home still hasn't quite struck me. Honestly, I can't explain it. I have always told myself, "When April hits, that is when I will feel like I am going home." and then April hits and I say, "When May hits, that is when I will feel like I am going to go home." Still didn't hit me. Then finally, "When June hits, that's when I will feel it." I realize I am going home, but I just don't feel like I am really going home. I am still in the same routine, still doing the same ol' thing, still working hard. Home just seems so far away, but I know that in reality it is only a week away... I don't know how I feel. I really can't put it into words. Because it just hasn't hit me with full force. I think that it will hit me when I am standing at the pulpit giving my departing testimony. Maybe then. I just am so scared. Honestly, I am terrified. But excited for the future, but terrified to go back into normal life. I don't want to lose what I've learned. I just want to keep it with me forever, and I am going to. On Thursday Elder Wahlen and I made a list of commitments that I am going to do when I get home. I am not going to write all of them down here, but I do intend to keep them all. They are written on the inside of my mission scriptures. I intend on keeping them all. I intend to continue to grow spiritually and be a great missionary when I get home. Ugh, I just don't know what to say. I just don't know if I am ready to leave. My heart is here now with the people who I have truly come to love. I have put my whole heart into this work, and it just doesn't seem fair that I have to leave it all. I am so grateful that I will have the chance to come back here sometime soon.
        Well, Brother Tackett is for sure going to come and hike Mt. Timp with me in the 3rd week of July. And Brother Asper is going to be there when I get home! At least I will have some part of Georgia with me when I get back home. I am so excited to sit down with Brother Asper and discuss doctrine. I can't wait to share with each other the new things that we have learned in our studies. It is going to be so hard for me to keep my composure when I see him again. I don't think that the members and investigators will ever realize what they have done for me. I don't think they will ever know the lasting effects and lessons that they have taught me. I am so grateful for every experience that I have had, good and bad.
       I can't wait to hug and kiss my mother and sister when I get home. I can't wait to hug my Dad and Brothers. I can't wait to take a long road trip with my Dad and just talk about life like we used to. I can't wait to share with everyone the things that I have learned about the Gospel and about life. I can't wait to apply them all and raise an
eternal family.
      I love you all so much,
-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, June 2, 2014

Brett Got Baptized!

Great news! Brett Swanstrom got baptized. I was lucky enough to attend his baptism this Saturday in Snellville. Goodness, I can't even express how much I miss that ward. They are just absolutely incredible. Bishop, President Roberts, Brother Tackett, and Brother TeWalt were there. It was so great being able to see all of them again. I miss them so much. Brother Rucker, one of my other favorite members, is Brett's girlfriend's brother in law. He is the one that really sparked the interest about the Gospel in Brett's life. Brother Rucker was not a member of the church when him and his wife got married. Brett knew Brother Rucker before he was a member. He saw how much this Gospel has blessed Brother Rucker's life. Brett has had a rough past has really made some incredible changes in his life. His baptism was just one of many leaps that he has made to becoming a better person. It is however the most important one he has made thus far. Brett has such an open heart. He was so much fun to teach because he just got it. I love teaching people who just get it. The message of the Restoration and Plan of Salvation just make so much sense. When you teach him you can see just the pieces of the puzzle connecting in his head. I love Brett, The Remund Family, and The Rucker Family.
We had a great experience this week. On Monday night we drove down to the mission home in Fayetteville to spend a two day boot camp with the mission Presidency. All of the zone leaders throughout the mission attended. Goodness, it was a great and humbling experience. I haven't had a chance to get to know a lot of the missionaries that attended this meeting. I knew a few of them pretty well and it was awesome. They were all just incredible and I learned so much from them. We had some good laughs and some good experiences. In the mornings we went on a run with President Harding and got to have some cool lessons. The first morning we went into the forest and President Harding starting to talk about the golden plates and Moroni. He then told a missionary to move a log and push around some dirt. You could see that there was something buried under the foliage. In the hole was some Book of Mormons that he gave out to us. It was a pretty cool little unexpected lesson. One of the best parts about being in the Eastern part of the United States is that the forests here really look like where Joseph had the First Vision. So I really felt like I was experiencing part of our Church's history. The next morning we went on a run and when we reached the lake we were running to President Harding handed us envelopes that had a letter from either our parents or from him in it. He invited us to go find a quiet spot and go and read. It was a very good spiritual experience. So relaxing. It was so nice to have an unexpected letter from my parents. I love them so much. My favorite part of the boot camp was President Jewkes training. President Gary Jewkes is a leadership trainer. He is a big deal in the business leadership world. He gave us a training on Franklin Covey's Speed of Trust cards. This is the second time that I have received the training from him, and I love it every time. The tools that he gives to communicate effectively are priceless. After his training combined with the spiritual experiences that I had throughout the meeting I felt like I left such a better person and missionary. It was however a very humbling experience. Being around such incredible missionaries sometimes is difficult. I was sort of envious of the missionaries that have so much time left and have so much more time to grow and progress. I am near the end... I know that I am not done growing or progressing, but I am almost done doing it in this sort of environment. I just don't think that missionaries really know or understand how quickly this time goes. And when missionaries would tell me that, I wouldn't ever believe them. I wish that I would have. Every second that goes by you won't be able to get back. You truly have to love every second of it.
We found some pretty awesome people this week. While doing a blitz with an Elder named Elder Berge. He's a great Elder. We found a family, the Arrynt family. Just an incredible family. We went over with their neighbor, Brother Knox. Brother Knox is the coolest. He is from Jamaica and is just so awesome. We took him over and a miracle happened. As we started to talk with Stewart (The Dad) he mentioned how his Comcast internet is down and how frustrated he was. Brother Knox said, "Well hey, I used to work for comcast. Let's go take a look!" Within ten minutes Brother Knox found the problem and fixed their internet. Instant best friends. We had a great lesson on the Restoration and they are really excited about all of the things that we had to share.
Well I am about out of time. I love you all so much!

-Elder Ryan Romero
Bidhop Clay

Brother Rucker

Brother Teawalt

Elder Schenik

Me, Sister Remund, Brett, and Marrianne