Monday, December 29, 2014

Hey, Guess What? It was my Birthday!

That's right folks! No more teenage Elder Rogers. It's all about the 20's now!
Whelp, it was one gooood week. We went about teaching people about the true meaning of Christmas right up until the day itself. On Christmas Eve we went to our Branch President's house for tamales (he says it's a Hispanic Christmas tradition). After dinner we read Luke 2 with his family. That was a good old fashioned Christmas Eve. The Hispanics call it "Noche Buena," and it's more of a celebration that Christmas day. They make a lot of food on the 24th that they stay up all night eating. They talk, and have a party right up until midnight, when they open up all of their presents! I don't know when Santa comes, since they're up ll night on Christmas Eve. I still just went to bed at the normal time, even though I'm what Elder Smith calls a "Hispanic speaking missionary."

OH! Transfer news! I almost forgot. Elder Smith will be moving on, "spreading his wings," as President told me. He was told by the Assistants to put his bags on the east side of the building at Transfer Meeting, which means he won't be serving in Grand Junction. There's a slew of possibilities, but we're guessing he's going to Carbondale and Aspen. He was also called as a district leader! I'm going to quedar here in San Juan and get a different companion. They are also combining the Montrose South Zone and the Montrose North Zone into the "Montrose Zone." That's the way it was when I entered the mission. They are having to shut down quite a few areas in the next couple of transfers because there are many more missionaries going than coming. Tomorrow, we will say goodbye to about 14 missionaries and hello to about 3. I think it's a similar ratio next transfer as well. Anyway, the zones combining will likely mean a big change for my district! There's the news!

On Christmas Eve we made some cookies and caroled to our investigators. On Christmas day we had a good district meeting and then caroled to some of the Delta Elders' investigators. We shared a short Christmas message with whoever would let us in, and that night I Skyped home! The next day everyone was in a post-Christmas slump. I was just trying to get everyone pumped because it was Birthday Eve!! The next morning, I woke up and got out of bed to say my morning prayer. As I was praying, I heard Elder Smith in the other room start playing the cello he rented. I was thinking, "What the heck is he doing playing the cello at 6:30?!" And then I realized he was playing "Happy Birthday!" That was pretty nifty. I got some candy and balloons from the Sisters in the Branch, and some great presents from home. That night, we went over to the Moreno family's house for a lesson. They had baked me a cake!
They lit the 20 candles on it, sang "Feliz Cumpleaños a Ti," and let me blow them out. Then we ate cake! They also gave me five new ties as a present! That day I said "Happy Birthday" to a few people. They'd get confused and say "Happy Birthday?" And I'd say "Thank you!" Being 20 is a lot like being 19 so far. I'll let you know if I notice any changes!

We didn't get to see too many people this week. That was a bit of a bummer, but it was still good. We had some good lessons with the Morenos. In our last one (on my Birthday), they had a lot of questions. They were basically comparing the Lord's Church with the Catholic Church on a lot of particular points and differences. At first, I would just answer their question and try to move on with the lesson. But more and more and more questions kept coming up. I finally just said (in essence), "Okay, look. You have like a billion and a half questions about a thousand different things; but really you only have one question: Was Joseph Smith really  a prophet of God? If he was, you don't have to wonder why someone as young as me could hold the priesthood. You don't have to wonder if holy water is really holy, if your baptism was valid, or if you should give up smoking or witchcraft. If Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, you don't have to come to us with every little question you have. You will have your answer. If he was a prophet, then the Church the Savior established through him is truly the Church of Jesus Christ. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today, the successor to Joseph Smith, holding the same priesthood power and the same keys of authority. They Church of which he is President is the only true and living Church on the face of the earth and it's organization is according to the will of God. That's why we ask you to read the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Mormon is true, it was translated by the power of God by a prophet of God. You need to read it, and you need to pray about it. That's the only way you'll get the answers to your billions of questions."

And now I, Elder Rogers, do not write all the words of that conversation or lesson, which were many, but behold, to be short in writing; it came to pass that the Morenos knew that they must read and pray about the Book of Mormon. And what is more, they knew the reason they must do so. And an account of their conversion shall be given hereafter. And I make an end of speaking concerning these things.

The work goes on into a new year! 2014 was great, and I'm looking to 2015 to be even better! Lots of changes, lots of new adventures! May the Lord bless and prosper you all in your righteous endeavors! I love you!


Elder Rogers

A Thought from Mom:  "It was meant to be that life would be a challenge. To suffer some anxiety, some depression, even some failure is normal. If you have a good, miserable day once in a while--or several in a row--stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out. There is great purpose in our struggle in life."  ~Elder Boyd K. Packer

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