Monday, October 27, 2014

They have Halloween Celebrations in Colorado...

New, clean T-shirts

Carving pumpkins on P-day
My Jack-O-Lantern


Another Week in Montrose

October 27, 2014
Yup, it's been a week!

Desafortunadamente, I forgot to bring my daily planner to remind me of all the things I did this week, so this one's going to be one the fly. It was a good week, tough! One thing I remember was Zone Meeting. I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to train on one of my favorite subjects- studying. I guess that'll make me a pretty effective student some day; my mission has taught me to love studying! I enclosed the notes on my training in a letter I sent to Mom and Dad, so they know what I'm talking about. But the one thing that I've really enjoyed this week that I learned while preparing that training was designating and using a sacred study journal! I've already had so many awesome experiences receiving revelation as I study the scriptures, and I know it's because I'm prepared to record it! There are a lot of concepts that I would not have remembered learning were it not for my sacred study journal! I encourage you to look at the notes on the training; they'll direct you to the pages in Preach My Gospel that will teach you how to keep a sacred study journal of your own! I can't believe I ever studied the gospel without one.

The whole mission got an email from President Murdock this morning, and it began thusly:

"Good Monday Morning to you, we hope you are well planned to have a productive, fun, preparation day. Sister Murdock and I just returned from our Mission President's Seminar in Nauvoo, Illinois. It was inspirational and very instructive. I know one of the first questions most of you will be asking is when are we getting our iPads. We will answer that question in our Zone Conferences over the next two weeks."
So! It sounds like that will be happening soon! So many aspects of the work will be made more efficient with the blessings of advanced technology. I think our zone has the first Zone Conference in the mission, this week Wednesday! Of course I'll let you know any updates on the situation next week.

Chelsea and Alejandro came to church for the first time yesterday! It was great. Tonight we're going over to a member's house to have Family Home Evening with them! You always have Family Home Evening, right? I really hope so. If not, *coughrepentcough* you can always try harder! :) Pablo works in stone in Teluride, and he has a big project he needs to finish before snow falls, so we probably won't be able to see him for at least another week. But he still seems willing to progress. It's hard to remember everyone without my planner!! But know that people are coming closer to Christ, or at least we're trying to help them do so.

So, I don't like spicy things very much, because I don't think mealtime should be a painful experience. Sin embargo, I can take some pretty spicy stuff. Elder Smith, on the other hand, cannot. He hates spicy food. We've been trying to build up an immunity to spiciness recently. We were over at a member's house for dinner, and we convinced Elder Smith to eat a jalapeno (don't worry- I ate one too!). He just about died. It was pretty great.

The work moves forward! Thank you for all of your support. Sorry this one isn't too long, I'll have to remember my planner next time! Enjoy the pictures of our pumpkin carving on preparation day last week! Endure to the end, and be nice to everyone.

Elder Rogers

A Thought from Mom

“We must not falter nor weary in well-doing. We must lengthen our stride. Not only is our own eternal welfare at stake, but also the eternal welfare of many of our brothers and sisters who are not now members of this, the true Church. I thrill to the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith in a letter that he sent to the Church from Nauvoo on September 6, 1842: 'Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward. … Courage … and on, on to the victory!” ~President Spencer W. Kimball

Monday, October 20, 2014


October 20, 2014

It's been a good one, this week.

On Monday night, we gave a blessing to Chelsea before her scheduled delivery the next day, and taught the family about temple marriage. They were pleased to accept the commitment to prepare themselves to be sealed in the temple! I went on exchanges later in the week to Delta, and didn't get to teach them at our return appointment, but Elder Smith told me things went really well, and they're still going strong. Everything went well with the delivery, and the family is happily at home. The Relief Society also arranged for a couple of dinners to be dropped off at the house, which I know Chelsea appreciated greatly. And now they've met many more members than they knew before! Good things are happening. Elder Smith and Alejandro set a baptismal date for November 9th (while I was in Delta). Alejandro just has to come to church every week until then to be baptized!

On Wednesday, we taught a good lesson on the Plan of Salvation to an investigator named Janette. The reason it was so good was because of the gift of tongues! Elder Smith and I were both definitely able to speak more fluently than we aught to have been able to speak, and I understood more than usual. That's been a blessing as well this week. I've been able to effectively speak my mind in Spanish my whole mission, but understanding the native speakers is a different story. I've noticed that in my short time here in San Juan, speaking to Latinos every day, I'm understanding more and more. It goes to show that the gift of tongues and the gift of the interpretation of tongues are two different things!

We also had a good lesson with Pablo again. We had planned to teach the family about the Plan of Salvation, but only Pablo was available, so we ended up putting that lesson off for our next visit. What's been great so far about Pablo is that he always keeps his appointments. That never ever ever ever ever happens with Latinos! We will be teaching him again tonight with our ward mission leader, which will hopefully help the family get some good fellowship in the branch.

On a quick side note, we have an investigator named Carlos who isn't really progressing, and always bails on our appointments. We stopped by the other day and he told us he was busy, but gave us some carne asada he was grilling up for the road. It was definitely one of the best meats I've ever had in mortality. Delicious. Succulent, even!

We had a good lesson with a familia we call Ismael y Rosa (those are the parents' names). It's difficult to tell if they are really interested in the message of the Restoration, because they always let us in and listen to our message, but they never have any questions, comments, or objections. And 98% of all Latinos will let you in to talk about the gospel. Sin embargo, we had a good lesson about the Book of Mormon with them this week, and I'll keep you updated, because they seem a little more solid than most of the people we meet.

Saturday and Sunday we had Stake Conference. The Sunday session was conducted by a member of the Seventy, broadcast from Salt Lake to Stakes in Colorado, Montana and Wyoming. Speakers included the Seventy, a member of the Primary General Presidency, and Elders David A. Bednar and Richard G. Scott! The Seventy spoke about the hastening of the work, the member of the Primary General Presidency spoke about families, Elder Bednar spoke about consecration, and Elder Scott taught us about prayer. I was edified! We went on to spend a good part of the day in a very Mexican trailer park, and got a lot of appointments with people for later in the week. Also, we got attacked by a dog. But it was small, and there's no harm done!

The work is going well. We're focusing on helping our promising and progressing investigators to be baptized and confirmed, and not wasting time with those who don't want to accept the gospel into their lives yet. We don't teach as many lessons as the area used to, but we want quality over quantity. And it's going well for us! I love the work, I love the mission, and I love this gospel! Thank you for all of your support. I feel you love and prayers! Choose the right, always have FHE, always read from the Book of Mormon, and be excellent to each other!

Elder Rogers

A Thought from Mom:

“Never assume that you can make it alone. You need the help of the Lord. Never hesitate to get on your knees in some private place and speak with Him.”

~Gordon B. Hinckley

Monday, October 13, 2014

Which Juan?

October 13, 2014

San Juan!

President told me where I was going in an email last preparation day after I had sent you the big email, but I decided to hold out and tell you this week! I'm serving in Montrose, Colorado. In fact, I'm emailing at the same computers I used when I was serving in Gunnison!

Montrose, Colorado

The name of the Spanish branch here is San Juan. It's a pretty (really) small branch. There are about 8 or 9 active families, and usually about 30 people in attendance at sacrament meeting. And the kicker-- most of them are white. Haha! The branch was started a few years ago by the current Stake President, and there were more Hispanic families then. Recently, quite a few active families have moved out of the branch. So we're left with one or two families who speak very little English, and the rest are in the branch by assignment. Most of the white people in the branch speak Spanish from their missions, but there are a few who don't speak it at all! Anyway, there's a lot of talk about "building" the branch. We definitely need to get some Hispanic converts!

Oh boy, I almost forgot!  "We" includes me and Elder Smith, my new companion! He has been in the branch and in the field for 12 weeks now, after 6 weeks at the Mexico MTC. His trainer was a native Spanish speaker, so he hasn't gotten quite as much practice as he would like speaking the language. We're both learning. He's from Rancho Cucamonga, California, and he just graduated from high school in May.

There are four companionships besides us in the District, and in the past I've been the District Leader of one person in every companionship! Small mission.

On my fist night in the branch we went and visited a potential investigator named Pablo. He has a wife, Gloria, and two little children, Yanneira (6) and David (4). David doesn't speak any English whatsoever, but he loves to talk, and he's pretty much the cutest little Hispanic person ever. I'll talk more about him later. So in the first lesson, we only taught Pablo. We taught him about the message of the Restoration, and it went really well. He accepted the invitation to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and set a return appointment. The day before the return appointment we stopped by at about 8 p.m. to make sure he was still planning on having us over. David answered the door of the trailer and explained in flawless Spanish that they were just going out to get hamburguesas. He was all decked out in his beanie and jacket because, as he explained, "Vamos a caminar porque no tenemos un carrrro. Vean?" And he pointed at nothing, thus proving to us his statement that they, in fact, did not have a car. At our return appointment, we talked with Yanneira and David for a few minutes while Pablo was doing something else. Elder Smith found a paper with stickers that Yanneira had made in school. One of the pictures was of a dog in a firefighter suit. He pointed at it and said, "Es un pedrdro?" Elder Smith can't roll his Rs. Yanneira corrected him, and he tried to say it again, to no avail. Then David, walking over to him, said, "Repite por mi: Pe-" Elder Smith repeated, "Pe-" David: "Rrrrrrrr" Elder Smith: "drdrdrdr" And hysterical laughter from both kids. That was pretty funny. Then we taught Pablo and Gloria the Restoration again, and set a return appointment, which we are determined to go to with a member of the branch so that we can adequately understand their concerns. That can sometimes be a challenge for us.

On Wednesday night, we had a great lesson with our investigator Alejandro and his wife Chelsea. They are married and have a young daughter named Anaya. Chelsea is a member of the Church, but has been less-active for about 10 years. She speaks no Spanish, and Alejandro speaks no English. I don't know how they've made that situation work for the past six years or so, but somehow they do! Anyway, Alejandro will be baptized some time in November, just as soon as he makes it out to church three times! Chelsea is expecting a baby today, a scheduled induction, so we gave her a blessing of comfort last night. They love the gospel so much, and they're so ready to work towards being sealed in the temple, which is an invitation we extended to them last night.

Thursday was just dandy as well. We had a good zone meeting, which I did not prepare (that was kind of cool). Then, President and Sister Murdock made their stop in Montrose to show us "Meet the Mormons!" It was a great movie. I definitely recommend it. My eyes hurt afterward, though. I think it's because I'm not used to looking at one thing for that long. I hadn't seen a movie in a really long time. After the movie, President and Sister Murdock trained us a little on the new "Adjusting to Missionary Life" booklets the Church has provided us, and then rocked our world with a sweet announcement of momentous magnitude! President wants us to all learn the doctrine of the gospel and the principles of missionary work more fully. He provided us with a study schedule for Preach My Gospel for the transfer, covering chapters One and Three, "What is My Purpose as a Missionary?" and "What Do I Study and Teach?" The course is rigorous. He wants us to study every single scripture outlined in the scripture study boxes, and to do every study activity suggested. He told us we should still be reading the Book of Mormon for at least 30 minutes of our personal study. Then he asked us, "Do you think the other half hour is enough time to do this Preach My Gospel study?" Most of us nodded our heads. Then he said, "Well we don't. So, I don't know of any other mission that's doing this, but you are all going to take an extra hour of study from 10:00 to 11:00 to do this study program." Wham! That's pretty big news! As a Spanish missionary, I already take an extra hour to study Spanish. I now have FOUR HOURS of study time in the morning. We break it up with lunch at about 11:00. But I LOVE it! I feel like I've been depriving myself of the privilege of owning Preach My Gospel. With this time set aside and dedicated to it, I am learning TONS and becoming way more converted to my purpose.

As always, I invite and encourage you all to study the gospel every day. Read the scriptures! The Lord will bless you. I know the Church is true, and I love the gospel and my Savior. It's kind of challenging, teaching in Spanish, but the Lord will continue to help me. He has helped me this far! I love you all, and hope you have a great week! Remember to be excellent to each other.

Elder Rogers

A Thought from Mom:

"We too can have the Spirit and share it with the world as we walk the path of the Savior and follow His perfect example." Thomas S. Monson

Monday, October 6, 2014

Aqui Vamos Otra Vez!

Well howdy and hey, everyone!
What a nifty week this has been! We had a great day of preparing on Monday, followed by a deliciously scenic drive through the mountains on Tuesday on the way to MLCs! The aspens have turned a bright yellow for autumn, and the evergreens are as green as ever. That was great! The following morning we had the privilege of attending the temple, which I always love.

I love the Temple!
Boy, was Conference inspiring! I don't know if I've told you or not, but I'm a huge fan of General Conference. Ashleigh and Shay went with another member of the ward to Salt Lake City, and they got to attend both Sunday sessions! Lucky... Some day I'm sure I'll go! The talk by Elder Robbins in the first session was tailored to our mission! We had received instruction the Tuesday prior from President Murdock about which way we face. I'm looking forward to reading that talk. And of course the message that stood out to me was the importance of sustaining the leaders of the church, not just by raising our hand, but by respecting and living their counsel. I could go into a ton of other things I enjoyed from Conference, but I won't! Just know that I loved it!

This week is transfer week! Tomorrow I am being transferred. President Murdock called and released me as a zone leader, called me to be a district leader, and assigned me to serve in a Spanish area with a fairly new missionary. Whaaaat?? It's going to be one roller coaster of a transfer! But oh boy, how roller coasters are fun! He also told be that I'll be serving on the other side of the world, so after the initial thought that Spain was the only Spanish-speaking possibility on the opposite side of the globe, I reasoned that he was probably speaking figuratively. So I'll most likely be going back up into or over the mountains. He told me my new companion has been out for 12 weeks. Elder Mecham scavenged his brain and determined that there is a Spanish missionary who has been out for twelve weeks in the following areas out west: Carbondale/Aspen, Montrose (San Juan) Grand Junction (Mt. Garfield), Rifle and Vail. So, basically anywhere but Frisco/Breckenridge. That probably sounds like a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo, but suffice it to say we have no clue where I'm going. Because even if President had been speaking sarcastically, there's an Elder in the Spanish ward in Denver who's been out 12 weeks. So, we'll just have to wait and see!
We had a great lesson on Sunday. Last week, we tracted into a man in his 50s named James. He told us how he had family who were members of the Church, and he would be interested in learning more. Our initial return appointment fell through, but we were finally able to meet with him on Sunday between sessions of Conference. We talked about the importance of knowing that the Book of Mormon is true. We shared our testimonies with him that it truly is the word of God and that the Lord revealed it as convincing evidence of the Restoration through the prophet Joseph Smith. He appreciated our testimonies. We then explained the importance of restored priesthood authority and the ordinances available because of it. We invited him to be baptized when he came to gain his own testimony of these things. He said he would. We then invited him to work towards November 22nd as a day to enter into the covenant of baptism. He accepted that invitation as well! We explained that he would face challenges along the way, and that there would be things he would have to change in his life to be able to realize the blessings of gospel covenants, and he said he understood. A lot has been changing in his life recently, and for him, he said, change is a good thing. What a good lesson! We then had the blessing of being able to call up the Conerstone Park sisters and explain to them that we had a referral for them. One who was already keeping his commitment to read from the Book of Mormon, who had a desire to learn of its truthfulness for himself, who was willing to make changes to qualify for the Lord's blessings, and who had a baptismal date for the next month! That was a fun referral to give. We set up a church tour with James and the sisters, as well as a member from their ward, so that we can have the opportunity of handing him over into the care of the family ward. A good experience, all around!

I know that this Church is the Lord's true and living Church on the earth today. Thomas S. Monson is called of and inspired by God to lead His Church. The Book of Mormon is so true! Most importantly, I have a testimony that Jesus Christ lives, and that He is the Son of God. He is our Savior, and He is Father to all those who believe on the words of His servants, the prophets. How blessed I am to know these things. Seek your own testimonies, and strengthen them. Learn from others, reading and rereading the inspired words of General Conference. Read the scriptures. And live the doctrine! There is nothing better to do in this life! I love you all, and hope you will continue to seek and cherish truth.

Elder Rogers