Monday, April 28, 2014

Bring a jacket!

I'm in Gunnison! Man, it's been an adventure.

Gunnison is an area smack dab in the middle of the mountains! It had been getting pretty hot in Grand Junction, but it's been snowing recently here in Gunnison! Our area is really big, so it's a car area! Woohoo! The town of Gunnison is only about 2x2 miles. Then we cover Crested Butte, a ski town to the north (they had it open for skiing this past weekend!! Whaaat? It's almost March!), Lake City to the west, and another town to the east or south... I can't remember exactly. But it's at least a half-hour drive to any of the outlying towns!

As you know, I'm training again this transfer. My new companion is Elder Sofele! He's from Hawthorne, California (LA area). He's a big Tongan elder, and he's 20 years old, so I still have yet to be the older companion. Anyway, we had a three hour drive from transfer meeting in Grand Junction to get to Gunnison! My new district is called the Mount Sneffels District. I know, it's a super funny name. I love it! In Gunnsion, we have sister missionaries serving in the branch as well. Oh yeah-- it's a branch! Man! First, I covered two wards, then they split it and I covered one. Then I got transferred and shared a ward with sisters, essentially covering half a ward, and not I'm covering half a branch! What the heck??

But I digress. We have sister missionaries in the branch as well, Hermana Stoeltzing, the Spanish sister that came into the mission with me (we actually sat next to each other on the flight to Denver!), and Sister Smith, a brand new missionary that was in the MTC with Elder Sofele. Sister Baker, from my MTC district, is also in the Sneffels district, and Elder Buhecker, my first District Leader! He's the one that provoked the snake on that hike a while back. Elder Hawkes, my MTC companion, is one of our Zone leaders, too!

The sister missionaries in Gunnison serve in a Spanglish area, since our branch encompasses Spanish and English, Families, and young single adults! There's a university in Gunnison, Western State Colorado University. There's a big W on the side of one of the mountains, and I'm told it's the largest collegiate letter in the nation. Umm... There's a problem here! I'm going to have to talk to some people about that when I get to BYU.

We have one really solid investigator, Michael, and several, ummm, developing(?) investigators. We're working hard, and I think I know a lot more about being a missionary now, so I hope to be a good trainer for Elder Sofele! He's a really great guy. We're getting along great, and things are looking up for the Gunnison Branch! The Branch President here is President Harvey, who is the son of an elderly couple that I was very well acquainted with in the Grand Junction 7th Ward!

It's a bit chilly here, but I'm finding myself turning the AC on in the car when it's 42 degrees outside... I don't know what's happening. Elder Sofele will be shivering in a jacket, while I'm fine and dandy without one! Anyway, I'm emailing at a library, so I have a time limit, and it's almost up! I love you all! Read and pray. The Church is true! Continue in excellence.

Sincerely,
Elder Rogers

A Thought from Mom:

“God not only loves the obedient—He enlightens them.” ~ Henry B. Eyring

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

What a Week!



April 21, 2014

Yes, it has been a week.
First of all, we got transfer calls. Well, more importantly, leadership calls! We were having our weekly planning session on Friday morning when President Murdock called. Of course, I had to wonder a billion things about why he would be calling on leadership call day. So I answered.

       Hello, this is Elder Rogers.
"Hi, Elder Rogers! I'm calling to let you know what's going on with transfers."
       Okay.
"Elder Curran will be staying there in Seventh Ward, and getting a new companion."
       Alright. That means I'm leaving.
"And you..." *chuckling with the Assistants* "We're giving you a bit of a load."
       Ooookay...
"You will be-- you might want to write this down."
       Okay. Just a second. Oh man. Alright, I'm ready.
"You will be training-- er --Will you train a mew missionary?"
       Yes, of course!
"Excellent. Then you will be training a new missionary and you will be whitewashing an area; and we want you to be the District Leader there, as well." Mmmhhmmm... "Can you do that?"
       Yes. I can do that! I think. I'm pretty sure. Yeah, I can do that.
"Alright, thank you Elder Rogers!"
       No problem!

So! I've never whitewashed an area before... It will be an experience! There are only three English Elders coming into the mission this transfer, so I was definitely not expecting to be a trainer again. Another interesting thing is that two of the new Elders are from foreign countries, and one is from the US. The others are from Japan and Germany. So, we'll find out tomorrow who I'm training, and where I'm going! I'm really taken aback by the trust the Lord has put in me with these callings. Training is the most sacred call a missionary can have. It's the first calling President assigns at transfers. So again, I was not expecting to train. That was way out in right field! And whitewashing! Taking over an area, essentially blind. We'll be blazing the trail in this new Elder's mission, and in the area! All I know is that I won't be staying in this zone, because we know none of the areas here are getting whitewashed. So I could end up.. Really, anywhere! I'll let you know when I know! Or, the Monday after I know. So I've been packing here and there, and I'll ship out tomorrow morning! That's transfer news.

And it's been a good week! We did Exchanges on Saturday, and I went with Elder Douglas in the Spanish Branch.First we went early in the morning to the Trainers' Training that President asked me to go to. That was great! Then it was raining, so the TWO service projects we had planned on doing fell through... So we went and preached the word unto the people! There's this one trailer park in Grand Junction up on a hill beside the Colorado River that is just like Mexico, or I should say, rural impoverished Mexico, since I know not all of Mexico is this way: dirt streets, dogs, cats, chickens, mariachi music, and, of necessity, Mexican people. It was kind of cool! We met and taught a nice guy there about the Restoration.
Elder Douglas and Me
We also contacted a referral, Vidal. He was a referral from the Singles' Ward Sisters. We knocked on his door, and he answered it, crying. He invited us in and told us how he had just watched a video about the Savior, and was pondering on his family and all of the things that were important to him. He said he prayed, "God, please help me." Knock knock knock! So he took us as an answer to his prayer, and I don't doubt the Lord had a hand in it! We taught him about the Restoration, and he pulled out a Book of Mormon, and explained that he had been reading it, and was in the book of Omni. Whaaaaat? I hope the Spanish Elders have great success with continuing to teach him the gospel.
Also on Saturday, Elder Douglas got a belated leadership call. He will be co-training one of the two new Spanish Elders in Montrose! So hey! Good thing we were on exchanges and he got to go to the Trainers' Training!!
We have been having a lot of success with our new finding approach. The questions we ask get people thinking, and it tells us a lot about them, so we can teach to their needs. Yesterday Elder Curran and I were doing the questionnaire with two teenagers, Jordan and Gabby. The last questions are, "Would you like to be happier than you are now?" and, "What would make you happier?" They both wanted to be happier. And they said that a fresh start, a new beginning, is what would make them happiest. YES! :) Of course, I'm being transferred, but I hope the Elders here have a great experience teaching them about the ordinance of baptism for the remission of sins through restored priesthood authority!
Yesterday was Easter. I loved it. It is the most religiously significant holiday we have, in my opinion. We celebrate the culminating event of the Atonement. It is so special. For our Easter program in church, we had a narrator who spoke between congregational hymns such as "He Died, the Great Redeemer Died," "The Lord is My Shepherd," and "Christ the Lord is Risen Today!" It was powerful, and as the conducting member of the bishopric related to us later, "The saints love to sing!" I do. And I appreciated the opportunity to praise my God though song!
I know that my Redeemer lives! And because He lives, we all shall live again! I am so lucky to have the opportunity to share this knowledge with the world full-time. Share it! Do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel? No! They put it on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house! There's some poorly paraphrased scripture that I hope will inspire you all to spread the glorious news of the gospel! I love you all! Choose the right!
Sincerely,
Elder Rogers


A Thought from Mom:

“In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance.” ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Robbin! And a Fun Conference!



Howdy and hey!


What a week! First thing's first-- Robbin got baptized! She asked me to perform the baptism. It was such a blessing! Now that the laws are all members, they've got their sights set on the temple! It was a great service, and the Spirit was strong. Shayla said the opening prayer, her first prayer in public!
The Laws Family on Robbin's Baptism Day




So, it's been kind of hot for the past few days. We've been sweating outside and soaking up some rays-- until yesterday! We left our apartment to go out for the day, and it was cloudy, windy and cold. While we were riding, it started raining. Then it started hailing. That was really cold! We finally got into someone's house and warmed up by their fire. While we were inside, it started snowing, hard. So, that's Colorado for you. 85 degrees one day, snowing the next!
 
I'm glad Rose had such a good birthday party! I can't believe she's three!! And Marissa is.... 24?... I think that's right... I could do the math, but I like guessing better.

 

 


 Stake conference was this week! The adult session Saturday night was great, President and Sister Murdock spoke, and they're always inspirational. There's a Spanish Branch in our stake, so they have a headset set-up for them to hear a Spanish translation. I decided I wanted to try translating for the Sunday session! Some of the Spanish missionaries were translating too, as well as another brother in the stake. We lined it all up, and I was assigned to translate for the second speaker. We sat in the foyer outside the chapel with a little table, the headset with a microphone and transmitter, and a bunch of Spanish scriptures and a tablet for easy Spanish searching. The brother from the stake translated the first talk, and handed the headset to me, "Here you go."

A sister started speaking, and I could hear her through the headset.

But I couldn't translate. Because she wasn't speaking English. If you can, just imagine me, sitting at this table, with my hand to my ear, my face becoming more and more puzzled as the seconds passed. She wasn't speaking Spanish, either. I was grateful to discover that I wasn't psychotic. All of the other translators around me were looking at each other, and at the speakers in the foyer. "Is that German?" "Dutch?" "I don't know."

The brother from the stake looks at me and says, "Just go by the Spirit!" Uhhh......

I didn't say anything. Some of the Spanish missionaries peeked into the chapel to see what was going on. They said she looked Native American. It's not like she just said a few words or sentences in this language; she spoke it for a solid sixty seconds. Perfect. My first time translating.

Finally, we realized that we could recognize her words. She had started speaking English. Phhew! So I started to translate. I translated her explanation that she was a Navajo Indian by birth. She was speaking Navajo. NAVAJO!

Anyway, I got a solid thirty seconds of translating in before she started talking about her maternal grandparents and the Abrahamic covenant, and I handed the headset to Hermana Jimenez. But hey, I did it for a little bit!! :) It was fun.

Those are the highlights of the week. Remember to read and live and love and do all of those awesome things! I love you all! Be excellent to each other! :)

Sincerely,
Elder Rogers

A Thought from Mom:

“Jesus said several times, “Come, follow me.” His was a program of “do what I do,” rather than “do what I say.” His innate brilliance would have permitted him to put on a dazzling display, but that would have left his followers far behind. He walked and worked with those he was to serve. His was not a long-distance leadership. He was not afraid of close friendships; he was not afraid that proximity to him would disappoint his followers. The leaven of true leadership cannot lift others unless we are with and serve those to be led.”  

~President Spencer W. Kimball

Monday, April 7, 2014

April!!!

Shalome!





The snow has melted and it is warming up! Grass is growing, and birds are singing! I don't have any pictures, because I still don't have a
memory card for my camera, but there are so many cherry trees and peach trees here, and they have been blooming with awesome flowers! (Thanks, Mom, for sending me a memory card :)

 




It's really pretty to see. So, I'm glad the winter is gone.Biking in the winter is not my favorite mode of transportation. Hooray for Spring!!
 













This has been quite a week! On Thursday we had Zone Conference. I know I've said it before, but I love Zone Conference!
We heard talks from
President Murdock's two sons, Blake and Ben. Blake served his mission in Portugal, and told us about a miracle on his mission when the 75-year-old lady they lived with got baptized after attending church for more than 25 years. Ben served his mission in Hawai`i (I just learned last week that that's a 7-letter word; "`" is a letter in Hawai`ian). He talked about how awful and rainy and muddy and unattractive his first area was, and how he used the mighty power of prayer to make it through. They were both great talks!

Then, we had a training from the APs about conversion. Those of us who
felt so prompted and prepared made a covenant to strive to become the
best missionaries we can me. We showed our commitment by signing the
mew mission flag. I signed it right on a stalk of wheat on the left.
I'll try to include a picture that another elder took of the flag so
you can see. They want to keep the flag in the mission for a long time,


and have hundreds of missionaries who want to commit themselves to the Lord's service sign it. It was awesome!

We were also introduced to a new method of finding new investigators. President Murdock shared with us the "survey approach." There are ten questions that we ask people to get to know them and their religious
background before we teach a short first lesson. It's a great way to get to know people and their concerns before teaching them, and also a more effective way of getting into people's homes! People are
typically turned off by the traditional "we're missionaries" approach.

Look...there's nothing "traditional about us!"

Instead, President told us to say that we are representatives of our
Lord Jesus Christ. A lot of missionaries have been having success with
this new method! Elder Curran and I got shut down about ten times in a
row when we first tried it... But maybe it was just a bad time of day.
We tried it on Friday evening, so I'm sure people were just trying to
relax after getting home from work. We'll try it again soon.

General Conference was amazing! I found a theme throughout all of
conference. I can't sum it up into one sentence but it was basically
as follows: The world is an awful place. Standards and morals are
being thrown right out the window as the last day draws near; but the
Lord's standards will not change. We need to become more firm in our
convictions than ever before. We will be called upon to defend our
faith, and we must be prepared to do so courageously! Out of love, we
should be shining examples of our faith, and true disciples of the
Lord Jesus Christ.

 

My beautiful nieces and nephew--And my amazing parents
I'm glad to hear everything went well with (Chris and) Natalie's wedding!
I loved hearing in Conference about the Gilbert Temple
dedication in two talks! I remembered on Saturday night that the wedding had happened the day before... So, Happy Wedding Day! I love it when families grow. It's the best! Whether people are married, or born! Speaking of being born, Happy birthday to Rose and Marissa! Hope they're great!

Remember to choose the right! Read and re-read the conference addresses. I liked President Monson's statement that they deserve our attention and continued study. And of course, Be excellent to each other!

Sincerely,
Elder Rogers

P.S. Robbin is getting baptized on Saturday!! (I've been spelling her
name wrong this whole time...)

A Thought from Mom:

"Everyone will have fears; but those who face their fears with faith will have courage."

~President Monson