Monday, December 30, 2013

Letter to Elder Rogers' Parents

Posted with permission from Brother Gum:

To the Parents of Elder Jake Rogers; 

I wanted to take a minute and express my deepest appreciation for the efforts your son has spent teaching me. He recently left our ward and the last I heard he was in Grand Junction area but what a GREAT YOUNG MAN you have.

His knowledge of the gospel and kind gentle teaching spirit has truly been a blessing to me. I am working my way back to church and I am expremely grateful for his teachings and friendship. One event that I will never forget; I just compiled a letter for my Bishop and scheduled a meeting with him. I had such horrible feelings after making the appointment I almost cancelled it. The next day your son and his companion Elder Brunson came by and I explained them the events and they offered me a blessing. The words of compfort and council given me that night were amazing.

Each time he was in our home I felt the spirit very strongly. It has truly been an honor to come to know Elder Rogers and I wish the very best for him. I had 3 of my 4 children serve a mission and I know the challenges those years bring. Let me reassure you his work is changing people's lives and he is doing a marvelous job at being a missionary. His lessons are exatly what is needed at the time. His knowledge of the scriptures is amazing and his desire to help is a perfect example everyone could follow.

I have delayed writing to you for some time. Life just gets so busy, for that I apologize.

Please let Elder Rogers know that everything is moving forward for me and great things are happening.
He has truly made a difference in my life.


Mark Gum

In a follow-up e-mail, Brother Gum  stated, "I am eternally grateful for (Jake's) sacrifice to serve a mission."

One Year Older and Wiser Too...

Happy Birthday to me!!
It was awesome to talk to you all on Christmas! It made my day!

This week had been a great one! One thing that really stands out in my mind is when we contacted a referral. The Sisters in the ward had tracted into a 19-year-old guy named Bryce, who said they could come back. I probably would have too, because... Well, if I were in Bryce's shoes I would have invited the two blonde 19-year-old girls back, too. But anyway! The Sisters gave him to us as a referral because they can't teach him on their own. So, we went and knocked on his door, and he invited us in and asked to hear our message. He basically wanted to know more about our beliefs so he was more informed and "sympathetic," as he put it. We shared the message of the Restoration and the Spirit was strong. He said that the message made sense. We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and invited him to read and pray. He said he would. We will eventually hand him off to the Singles' Ward missionaries, because he will be much better fellow-shipped there. But that was a great experience!

This week we also started over teaching the lessons to a 12-year-old investigator, Noah. He lives with his grandmother, who is a member of our ward. We taught him twice this week, and took the lessons slow, because he has a hard time paying attention and retaining information. Before we started the lessons, we set him on date to be baptized on January 11th. IT was all looking good, but unfortunately his mother denied permission for him to be baptized. So we're kind of at an impasse. Hopefully his mother's heart will be softened soon, and Noah will be able to continue to progress back to his Heavenly Father. He was very disappointed about the whole situation.
But not to worry! God has commanded us to be baptized, and I know that "the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Ne. 3:7)
In other news, I'm really enjoying my new area! It took a lot of adjusting at first, but I'm comfortable in the area now. Of course I don't know all of the ward members or where our appointments are yet, but I'm getting there. Grand Junction has 60,000 people. I know that's not a very small town, but I realized why it seems so small. I have lived my whole life in the Phoenix-metro area, population 5-6 million. I've spent the last six months in the Denver-metro area, population 2-3 million (I think). So, going from nineteen years of that to a city of 60,000 is a pretty big change! Plus there's a lot of trailer parks and such in my area. But the point is, I'm adjusting to it well!
This week brings us into a new year! That's exciting. I always love New Year's. It'll be weird writing 2014 in my journal and on all of the records we keep, but that happens at the beginning of every year. I"m looking forward to making 2014 the best year of my life (so far)! I invite you all to do the same. It will happen as you take steps to bring yourself, your family, and others closer to the Savior Jesus Christ. Make it a goal!
Have a great week, and an excellent year! I love you all, and you are in my prayers!
Elder Rogers

A Thought from Mom:

"Be of good courage. The Lord will strengthen thy heart." ~ Jeffrey R. Holland

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas Skype 2013

We had SO much fun talking to Jake on Christmas! The whole family was there (including Grandma and Grandpa). Jake is doing GREAT! He is happy and his whole countenance shines with the light of Christ. We are so proud of the hard work he is doing in Colorado! We miss him and love him, but wouldn't have him any other place at this time in his life! We LOVE our missionary!!!

Merry Christmas Skype 2013
Family Picture Christmas 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!
This week has been a crazy one! It's so odd that it's already Christmas Adam! Time seems to have lost all sense. But Merry Christmas nonetheless!

As you well know, I was transferred. And it's been a whirlwind! I found out on Tuesday morning at transfer meeting that I was being transferred to Grand Junction. That's the main city on the other (West) side of the mountains. It's about four hours away from Provo, and from Denver in the other direction. I got to drive a Dodge Caravan out west! I'm not sure why they had the Arizona boy drive a minivan through the snowy mountains in December... But it worked out, and I didn't crash and go tumbling down the side of the Rockies!

Ho, Ho, Ho!
I'm serving in the Grand Junction 7th ward, and I'm the district leader here, as well. Our district is pretty diverse! We have two sets of Spanish missionaries, and two sets of English missionaries. A set of elders and a set of sisters for each language. That's four sets total. The Spanish elders and sisters share the Spanish branch (Mount Garfield), and the English elders (us) and Sisters share the English ward (Grand Junction 7th).
My new companion is Elder Bartlett, who is on his second transfer. That makes him my step-son, because I'm his follow-up trainer! He's from Elk City, Idaho, and we get along pretty well.

Grand Junction! It's super different from Litttleton! I've never quite understood what a small town (or small city) is like, but I think I get it now! Grand Junction is very rural. It's taking a lot of adjusting! It makes me miss my last area in ways I didn't anticipate! But I'm doing great here, so no worries! Transferring to a new area, I'm finding out, is a lot like starting your mission over again! I don't know any people here, or the area, how to get around, how to act around certain people... I didn't really expect that. But at least this time I have a lot more experience!

As a district leader, I get to conduct companion exchanges with the other elders in my district. Since there's only one other set of elders, it makes things pretty easy! We did our first exchange on Saturday. I got to spend a whole day in a Spanish area! It was super cool. I was able to understand most of what people were saying, and I could communicate my thoughts pretty effectively. We found a couple of new Spanish investigators from tracting, and had some good lessons with less-active members and investigators. At the end of the day, we went to the Fiesta de la Navidad! Presidente Vasques asked me to say the prayer and blessing on the food. I'm not quite sure why... But I did, and no one was the wiser! Some of the branch members complimented me on my accent. So, that was a fun day! I'm sure I'll do exchanges with them at least one more time this transfer.

Well, it's almost Christmas! I can't wait to Skype with all of you! And guess what else! It's almost my birthday! The big 1-9. I've still got a few days left of telling people I'm 18. It's been pretty fun to be able to do that as a missionary, because people are always so impressed. Haha! Then we'll start the new year! 2014! A whole lot is going on, and the work here in Grand Junction is great. Merry Christmas! Stay excellent and remember why we celebrate! I love you all!
Elder Rogers

Monday, December 16, 2013

Adventure Time!

December 16, 2013

Transfers are tomorrow! And for the first time EVER, I'm being transferred!!
Elder Campbell is going to be training a new missionary in the Coal Mine area, and I'll be follow-up training a missionary who'll be on his second transfer. We got this news on Friday, and were asked to attend the "Training Training" on Saturday morning with President Murdock.
Elder Tenney?

Just kidding! Elder Rogers!
There is a missionary in Ken Caryl whose trainer is going home, so he'll need a follow-up trainer. At the end of our meeting on Saturday, I went up to President and said, "President, if I'm going to Ken Caryl to follow-up train Elder Wilkinson, will you tell me now so I don't have to pack up all my stuff and drag to the mission office, just to take it back to Littleton?"
He said, "Umm... I can tell you that. No. You're not going to Ken Caryl. You're... going on an adventure."
I asked him if I was going to the island, and when he looked all confused I explained the story of Chris' President telling him he'd like his new area, and him being sent to the island. He said, "No. You're not going to an island." I could have guessed that.
But I think President Murdock likes to mess with people's minds. Because At first, I was thinking, Oh. Cool! An adventure! And then I was like, I wonder what that could mean... And then I was like, What does that mean?? Aaaahhhh!!
But it's all good; I'll find out tomorrow.
Thank you for the Christmas package! I have to transfer all of the presents with me, so I just put them in my bike box.
There are people here I'm sad to leave, but I'm also really excited for whatever adventure lies ahead! I hope all is well with you, and that you stay righteous!
Elder Rogers
A Thought from Mom:
“A missionary will not be effective if he or she does not have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. Indeed, I believe a missionary's effectiveness and success is directly related to his or her own conversion to, testimony of, and love of the Book of Mormon."
~Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

December 9, 2013

How are you all? I hope all is well in Arizona!
I'm sorry there's not too much to report on this week! It's been really cold and snowy, which means we can't ride our bikes. It's a lot slower walking, and I just wish we could get around faster! But we have been shoveling a lot of snow in between appointments. This is the first real time I've ever lived in the snow. I think I would like it, if it weren't a hindrance to the work...
Standing on a frozen stream
 But things are still going well. We've had a couple of good lessons with members. President Murdock has asked us to set up appointments with active members for 8:00pm, our least effective time. We have been asked to teach one of the lessons to help get the members into the spirit of the hastening. It also gives us a good chance to practice teaching!
Transfers are coming up in one week, so the next time I email, I'll know if I'm staying or going. I'm about due for a transfer, but for some reason I feel like I'll be staying here. Maybe I'll be here for the rest of my mission. Who knows?! Thank you, Mom and Dad, for the awesome package! As a district leader, I conduct companion exchanges within the district. We held one on Tuesday, and I went to another area. The other missionaries pointed out how I hadn't brought a second tie for the next day (we spend the night on exchanges). I got your package that day, however, and I had brought it with me. I opened it up and, Lo! and behold! an awesome Christmas tie! So I wore that on the day of exchanges. The candy you sent me was gone by that morning. Much appreciated!

I hope you all are well and are having an excellent holiday season! Remember the reason we celebrate! I love you!
Elder Rogers

A Thought from Mom:

“Obedience brings success. Exact obedience brings miracles.”
~Elder Russell M. Nelson

Monday, December 2, 2013

Maybe we have too much time on our hands?

D&C 4 Written on a chalk board with no chalk


December 2, 2013

Hello again!

This week was a whirlwind! A lot of people were out of town for the holiday, so we didn't teach as much as we would have liked, but it was a good week nonetheless.

Thanksgiving was great! We went to our ward turkey bowl, where my team got second place and Elder Campbell's won first. Then, we had our first dinner at 1:30 with the LaVecchias. The highlight of that dinner was.... the sweet potatoes! They were like candy!! They make them mashed to a cream, mixed in with sugar and brown sugar, topped with roasted almonds and more brown sugar. MAN those were good.
Our second dinner was at 5:30 with another family. That one was great too. Then we played Mexican Train Dominoes.
A hug from Dad (He sent it in an email--this fine brother delivered it!)

On Friday, we had another Thanksgiving feast with a different family in the ward, and after that I was pretty much done with turkey.
On Saturday, we did a little bit of service for the LaVecchias, putting up Christmas lights! Once they're all done, I'll send a picture.
Our ward is slowly but surely getting on board with the hastening of the work. We're getting more scheduled appointments, which makes our days run smoother. Hopefully more people will be in town this week and we'll be able to teach tons!

I hope your Thanksgiving was awesome! Keep reading the scriptures and choosing the right!
I love you all!

Elder Rogers

A Thought from Mom:

"What we need now is the greatest generation of missionaries in the history of the Church. We need worthy, qualified, spiritually energized missionaries who, like Helaman's 2,000 stripling warriors, are 'exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity' and who are 'true at all times in whatsoever thing they [are] entrusted' (Alma 53:20)."

~ Elder M. Russell Ballard