Monday, February 23, 2015


There's been some snow in Summit County!

Whelp, things moved pretty slowly this week... We still don't have our truck, and the weather was a pretty big hindrance. On Monday after I emailed, we tried to go sledding down a big hill that's right next to our apartment. It didn't go so well. We started trying to climb up the hill, but the snow was like 4 feet deep, so it was a reeeeaaal struggle to move anywhere. We both took the sled down half of the hill once, and then we were done. It was completely exhausting! Also, I forgot my hat, so we had to trudge back through the four feet of snow to get it. But it was a learning experience!
Yup--It's cold!

Oh boy! Then, on Tuesday, we had interviews with President Murdock and specialized training from the Assistants and Sister Murdock. It was great. It was from 1:00-5:00 in Denver, though, so practically the entire day was shot. Before heading back up the mountain with the Vail elders we stopped at Café Rio for some dinner. There was a nice man there from Montana or Michigan or something; anyway, he's a member of the Church and surprised us by paying for our meals! That was really nice. So we talked to him as we ate, then headed back up to the land of the freezing.

On Wednesday we went up to Leadville as usual and taught a lesson for the first time in the week. It was with Jesse and Cole. They were pretty out of this world, mentally, so I don't know how well they grasped our lesson on the Book of Mormon. But they have a roommate, a girl named Tony, who was really interested in what we were teaching. She doesn't do drugs, so we have great hopes for her!

On Thursday we found an apartment complex that we're pretty sure has zero natural-born Americans in it. The first man that answered was clearly straight out of Africa; his name was Alpha. Next an Asian man answered, then a nice young man from Peru named Danish (more about him later), a petite fellow named Juan from El Salvador, and a young man named Carlos from Mexico. We were able to teach a short lesson on the Restoration of the Gospel to Danish, and he seemed willing to learn more, but he wasn't there when we went back on Sunday. Hopefully we'll be able to contact him again soon! Carlos also seemed really interested!

On Saturday in Leadville I met one of our investigators, Manuel, for the first time. He has been taught about the Restoration, and we planned on teaching him about the Book of Mormon. It was a great lesson! He seemed really sincere about his commitment to read it from the beginning. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to see anyone else that day, because there was a storm coming in and we wanted to get home before the roads got too bad. So that was a bit of a bummer; we didn't get to see a lot of people that we would have liked to. Also, we found out from Brother Cook, who owns the building we live in, that he's just sold the property and we'll have to move out by the end of March. So we're currently house hunting!

Church was great, and Sunday was fairly productive, but suuuper cold! I don't know what the temperature was, but it was colder than normal, for sure. Maybe it was just the snow and wind chill. But it's alright, because I still have all my fingers, and my ears, and my blood's still running warm! Church was cancelled in most of Denver because they got a ton of snow that day.

The Church is true and I'm so glad I have this chance to be a part of the work. Even though it's hard, and cold. I love the Lord and I'm grateful for the power of the Atonement in helping me accomplish tasks beyond my own abilities! I know that the Atonement is real. Take a moment and this about the blessings of the Restored Gospel in your lives! I love you all, and hope you're having a warm winter!

Elder Rogers

Monday, February 16, 2015

Great Living at 10,200'

Whelp, it's cold.

This week has been ca-razy! So many changes, so many new people and new places! On Tuesday we headed to Grand Junction for transfer meeting, where my new assignment was disclosed-- Frisco, Colorado. It's an English ward, but a Spanish area in the mission because of all of the hispanics that live here. In fact, this is the same area that my trainer, Elder Curth, served in as a Spanish missionary in 2012 right before he went to Ken Caryl and Coalmine, my greenie area! But anywho, I boarded the transfer train and drove (they always make me drive) aaalllllll the way to Denver. I met my new companion, Elder Garcia, at the mission office at about 7:30pm. Then we got a ride from the Vail Elders aaaallll the way back to Frisco. I'm serving as the district leader in a district of three companionships- two sets of Spanish Elders and one set of English Elders. It's called the Mountain District. We live in a little one-room apartment with a loft above a member's welding shop in Silverthorne. We hear some sweet country tunes coming through the walls during language study. Here in the Frisco ward, we cover the towns of Frisco, Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Dillon, Kaystone, and Leadville. And we don't have a car. The Elder I replaced here got into an accident, so our truck is currently in the shop. Luckily, though, Summit County (our area) has a great free public transportation system!

And man, let me tell you about riding those busses. There are ski bums everywhere. Like, tons of them. They're all guys in their twenties who move to the Rocky Mountains for snowboarding and legal marijuana. They all have facial hair (and it's rarely impressive), and some of them even have pony tails. It's uhhh..... different. And then we see vacationists all the time!! People come up to the resorts or to their mountain homes or cabins here and going skiing! There are always people and families on the bus, toting along their skis or snowboard, with their goggles on their head, ready to shred the slopes! That seems to make up most of the population here. People visiting the mountains, and people working at the resorts that the other people stay at.

On Wednesday we had an interesting experience... We got a ride from a member to Leadville, where Elder Garcia tells me most of our investigators are. When we entered the town, I say a big sign that says, "We [heart] Leadville! Great Living @ 10,200'!" That's some elevation for ya. The most memorable lesson we had that day was with a couple of young men named Jesse and Cole. They're roommates who share a trailer and work at a ski resort. Other than that, they like to snowboard and smoke marijuana. We started teaching them about the Restoration of the Gospel, and then they just pulled out a bong and started going at it. I'll have to say, that's a first. (I think. That might have happened in Denver once, but I can't remember...) Anyway, it was pretty dumb. But then we kept teaching them and set a date for them to be baptized on March 21st. We're trying to give everyone a baptismal date on the first lesson now. Hopefully they can make it! They'll obviously have to make a few changes...

On Thursday we had an appointment with a guy we met at the bus stop named Bronson. We had met him the day before, and he said we could stop by his place on Thursday night to teach him. The only problem was that he lives in Keystone, which is a little less than an hour by bus from us. So we got on the 6:00pm bus to make our 7:00pm appointment. We went and knocked on the door to the address he gave us, and we asked the guy who answered if Bronson was home. Bronson didn't live there. So, stellar. We got a fake address. We were about to leave, but then we decided to ask the guy who answered the door if we could share a message with him. He said, "Sure!" Turns out he was visiting from Peru, and that might have something to do with why he was so open. Anyway, his name is Diego. He's here working at the resort in Keystone for the season. We taught him the Restoration, and he mentioned that he had a friend on a mission in Argentina. We also set a baptismal date for March 21st with him. The biggest problem with most of the people here will be getting them to church. And I imagine quitting the whacky tabacky will be a struggle for some as well.

Anyway, on Thursday night, while we were on the bus to Keystone, I was just taken away by how awesome this area is! As the bus pulled into the Keystone resort, I could see the mountain all lit up for night-skiing. Outside the front of the resort there was a frozen pond with people, big and small, quick and wobbly, ice skating. All of the buildings there had lights trimming the outside, but not really in a Christmas-y way, just in a wintery way. Then we passed a restaurant that advertised a live band, and it just seemed like a really awesome vacation experience! I'm sure it's paradise for people who like winter sports.

On Friday, I was struggling to stay awake during my personal study at 8am. I think all of the walking without the car, and the sudden huge rise in altitude were taking a toll on my body. I had my pen out, ready to mark, as I read my Book of Mormon. Every time I would drift off to sleep for a second my hand would fall and make a little line on the page. I counted at least five marks on the page after I was done. The struggle was real.

We've taught a couple of good lessons in Spanish since I've been here. Elder Garcia is not a native Spanish-speaker. He was called to the mission speaking English, and then got switched after his first transfer. This is his fourth transfer. So he's been out a little more than four months. He, like Elder Smith and Elder Baker, was trained in Spanish by a native speaker. So he kind of got drowned out and frustrating trying to learn the language. But Elder Smith, who was his District Leader last transfer, told him that I would be able to help him a ton with his Spanish. (Gee, no pressure.) But luckily it has been a good experience. I think mostly he just needed confidence, and a tutor who could understand his struggles, and who could explain the reasons behind why certain things are said a certain way. We had dinner at a Spanish-speaking member's house last night, and Elder Garcia and I were speaking Spanish to her. She asked me how long I'd been on my mission, and I told her, "About twenty months." Then she turned to Elder Garcia and said, "See, that'll be you in twenty months." We didn't bother telling her that my first sixteen months were in English. I think it's kind of funny, because I'm sure I'm not that good at Spanish compared to someone who served their mission in South America... But whatever, I do what I can with what I've got. Anyway, I can already see Elder Garcia's Spanish improving little by little.

On Saturday we helped a less-active old lady move some of her stuff to the dump. She's a hoarder (according to her own confession), and she's trying to clean out her house. We had to start my shoveling all of the snow out of her truck bed, then by breaking up the ice that was holding some lawn maintenance equipment in place so we could open the garage. So much snow. So much ice.
We can do Hard things! (Sorry it's sideways :/)
We loaded up a bunch of stuff and then headed off to the dump. After we had unloaded everything, we drove by an only upright piano that someone had dumped! It was in perfect working order! Only the high C was a dud and the keys weren't as ivory-ish as they ought to have been. It was even in tune! I played a couple of tunes on it, and then left it there, despite the promptings from Sister Bradford to find a way to take it home. I don't think we're allowed to have pianos.

On Sunday we got to church, and I saw someone I recognized! The Bishop from the Coal Mine ward, Bishop Jensen, has a house up in the mountains, and they attend the Frisco ward whenever they make weekend trips! His wife and three of his sons were there (he wasn't). But it was great to see them and catch up a little bit. Sister Jensen said the ward has changed drastically since I left. She said one in every three of the strong, active families has moved out, and some stopped coming, and a few who never came before started showing up! She had good things to say about Sister Remmington from my MTC district, who finished her mission in that ward a couple of months ago. Our sacrament meeting in Frisco was packed with visiting President's Day weekend skiers. We had a small chapel, and there were about 200 people or so in attendance. Then Elder Garcia and I taught a bilingual Sunday School class, and I got to teach the Elders' Quorum. Our Elders' Quorum President and his family, the Havens', are converts of about three or four years, and they really love the missionaries. They're great.

That's the low down on what's going on way up here in the Rocky Mountains! So mountainy. So snowy. It's great. Elder Smith is my zone leader! So that's really cool. He says he doesn't like working with only white people (I can't blame him), but I think he'll do awesome things as a zone leader. I know the Church is true, and that we have a living prophet on the earth! What a huge blessing! I love you all, and send my warmest winter wishes your way! Be excellent to each other!

Elder Rogers

A Thought from Mom:

President Joseph Fielding Smith “used three great words that I can never forget,” recalled President Gordon B. Hinckley. Those words were “true and faithful.” President Hinckley said, “In his public addresses, in his private conversation, in his prayers to the Lord, he pleaded that we might be true and faithful.”1 President Thomas S. Monson shared a similar memory: “Even in his advanced years, [he] always prayed, ‘May we be true and faithful to the end.’”

Monday, February 9, 2015

Me voy

That's right folks, I'm out! It's time to say Adios to San Juan!
Yesterday we saw the close of yet another transfer. It's been a crazy one, for sure! Transfers seem to come and go like weeks. We got a call on Saturday night from Elder Austin, who was just called as a new Assistant. (Fun fact! He'll be serving with Elder Donovan who came out with me; and Elder Donovan's first name: Austin). We were told that Elder Baker will be staying and taking over the area, and that I'll be getting transferred. Also, One of the Sisters in the branch who has already been here for four transfers will be staying for ANOTHER one to train a new missionary. Being that there are only eight Spanish Elder areas, it's pretty easy to figure out what's going on at transfers. The two Denver areas are filled up, as is the branch in Grand Junction and the Carbondale branch. That leaves me with the options of Frisco, Vail, or Rifle. Whatever the case may be, I'm going to be cold. It's been nice spring weather here in Montrose lately (I don't know why!), but it looks like I'll be going to the mountains to finish out the winter! Oh, and Elder Smith got called as a Zone leader! I told him that would happen...
Someone made us little clay missionaries!
We taught a few good lessons to people on their doorsteps this week. It was on their doorstep because I forgot to teach Elder Baker about getting inside people's houses. And then when it happens again, I realize I still forgot. I hope I can get around to doing that sometime soon. Anyway, those lessons have been good!
On Saturday I got to be an English missionary again in the Spring Creek ward. It was a really good day! We started off by having a church tour with one of their investigators named John. He was a really hard guy to teach. I could get about one sentence in to his eight or nine. He had lots of ideas and philosophies. But overall it was a good tour and a good lesson. We also went and taught one of their recent converts, and afterwards had some great seafood chowder with another recent convert. We finished off that night by getting transfer calls. Also, our car has been refusing to start on and off, and the people at the shop said there's nothing wrong with it. We're just really hoping it's going to start tomorrow morning when we need to drive to transfers!
We had a couple of lessons with the Morenos this week, as per usual. On Wednesday, their two teenage girls came to the branch mutual activity! We played basketball at one of the buildings. They had a blast, and it was lots of fun! Other than that, we've had a pretty interesting development. Oscar seems to be growing in his interest in the gospel. He didn't seem to want to have to much to do with it when we first started teaching them, but something's changed! So that's really promising. We tried committing Pati to stop smoking. We told her we were going to eat nothing but brown rice and water until she stopped. But hey, I'm getting transferred, so... We'll see what happens. Well, I won't but Elder Baker will!
We've taught a lot of good lessons on faith this week. One of them was the most recent lesson we taught to the Morenos. Basically, Moroni says, "And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; Iwould show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute notbecause ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith" (Ether 12:6). Okay. Faith is something you hope for, that you can't see. Let's bring it down to an everyday level. I hope this door is going to open. But no matter how hard I hope, it's not going to open. That's where Moroni 7:40 comes in. "How is it thatye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?" We need to attain unto faith. It's not the same as hope. Hope precedes faith. The difference between the two is that faith is a principle of action. I have faith that this door is going to open, so I'm going to exert my energy to reach out my hand, grab to doorknob, turn it, and push the door open. And guess what? The door opens. (Good thing it wasn't locked, or that would have totally ruined my object lesson). As Moroni said, "ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." I now witness the open door, but I did not receive that witness until I had put forth effort to achieve the thing I had hoped for.

So great, now we know that we use faith to open doors. But how does it apply to salvation? Moroni says further in Moroni 7:40-41, "And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?
And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise."
So that's the hope. That's the hope that our faith is based on. Eternal life with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. At this point, we could just say, "I believe!! I've been saved!" And watch the door stand still, or we can do the things that Jesus taught, thus exercising our agency, and transforming our hope into active faith! Faith is a principle of action! And how do we act? We repent of our sins, strive to change and become more Christ-like, we are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, then we endure to the end in being faithful to our covenants, which are instructions and commitments to help us along the way as we learn and grow. Faith, faith, faith! It all starts with faith. That's why it's the first principle of the gospel; because just like any other thing in this universe, nothing happens until we exercise faith. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, "Faith [is] ...the principle of action in all intelligent beings” (Lectures on Faith [1985], 1).
I hope you all liked my thoughts on faith. I wanted to share them because I think it's so cool! I hope you'll all act on your faith by living the principles and ordinances of the gospel, and by keeping your covenants! I love you! Make it a great week!!
Elder Rogers

Monday, February 2, 2015


Well hello.
Monday was pretty interesting. When we came home at the end of the day, Elder Baker walked into the apartment and noticed it smelled like bread. When we turned on the lights, there was bread all over the floor. Ripped up into little pieces, and strewn all over the floor. What I didn't mention last week was that we came home one night to an apartment covered in silly string and tissue paper. We hadn't cleaned all of the silly string up yet, and now there was bread all over the floor. This time, though, there was a note from the Sisters in the Branch, identifying themselves as the bread-fiends. I was like, "Aw man... Now we have to clean up two messes..."

Then Elder Baker said from the other room, "I think there's a dead cat in the bathtub!" What? I walked into the bathroom, turned on the light, and there was not a dead cat in the bathtub. There was a dead raccoon.
What the?!

Like, a 30-pound raccoon, holding a piece of bread. It was at that moment that I decided the Sisters are disgusting. We called them, and they told us they thought we were disgusting for having a dead raccoon in our bathtub; they didn't put it there. It was already there when they came to put bread on the floor. So we figured out it was another companionship who had gone on a hike that day, and must have picked it up on their way back into Montrose. So we put it in the bushes outside their apartment. Then I scrubbed the tub with bleach for a half an hour while Elder Baker picked up the bread with a snow shovel. The next day we caught the Sisters cleaning our apartment. They did a good job. It turns out they had done the silly string and tissue paper as well. But now it's all cleaned up! They had asked some of the other Elders for the code to our apartment (it's a key-pad lock) so they could prank us, and so they could clean it up. So we changed the code. Long story short, there were some more pranks this week,
Oreo Car
and President Murdock called me this morning and asked me to put a stop to the pranking in my district. So I'll do that.

I went on an exchange with the Mount Sneffles Elders this Saturday, and that was quite an adventure! I don't like being an English missionary as much. But Elder Schlegel told me that at 2:00 we were going to help a lady in the ward move a dryer. At 1:30, we were picked up by their ward mission leader, and given a ride 30 minutes south, into Ridgeway. We went waaaay out into the boonies in the middle of a scrub-brush pine forest, saw some elk, and found the lady's house. It was pouring snow. It turns out that her washer and dryer, which she wanted to move into the house, were somewhere in the middle of a bunch of junk in her 53-foot storage trailer. We slipped and slid in the cold mud for two hours moving things out of the trailer, including a 2,000-pound wood splitter (that's an estimated weight). Finally, we got to the washer and dryer, and were able to move them into the house. We were in our proselyting clothes for all of this! I'm kind of glad it ended up being a big project, because it would have been a big waste of time to drive an hour round-trip just to move a dryer. So there's the silver lining! Also, she couldn't have done that by herself. I was cold and really tired after that. We didn't have a dinner appointment, so when we got back to their house in Montrose, I threw some leftover pizza in the microwave, devoured it, and zonked out for the remainder of our dinner hour. Other than that, the day was rainy and sleety, and we had to walk, because the Elders had blown their mileage allotment the week before. I was SO happy when I got back to my apartment and ended the exchange. If nothing else, that exchange made me grateful to be serving in San Juan.
The man sitting next to me at the computers in the library just asked if we have a dental plan for the members of the Church. I told him no, and he said if we did, he would become a Mormon. I told him I'd see what I could do.

During some big annual football game that they had going on on TV on Sunday, we went and left notes to most of our investigators on their doors. Then that night we went and taught the Morenos. They are tough cookies. They're just so... hard to get through to! One of them had had a question, "If we all lived with God before this life, then why are there people who don't even believe there is a God?" We taught them about the veil and it's purpose. One of my favorite scriptures on the topic being Alma 32:17-19,

"Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe. Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it. And now, how much more cursed is he that knoweth the will of God and doeth it not, than he that only believeth, or only hath cause to believe, and falleth into transgression?"

So, basically, because of the veil we can learn and grow and make mistakes without bringing upon ourselves an everlasting condemnation by sinning against the great light. I think they liked the lesson. It answered some questions for them. But the one who was paying the most attention was their niece, Anita. When it finally clicked in her head, she said, "Voy a ser una Mormona!" She was just kidding, but she could be a really promising investigator. Unfortunately, though, she lives in Telluride, a ski town about two hours away from Montrose. We don't have the mileage allotment to teach her regularly, and I don't think she would be able to get a ride to church every Sunday. But we'll see what we can do! Hopefully it can work out somehow.
I have come to realize even more this week my great appreciation for the Book of Mormon! It is truly the keystone of my testimony. As I've ready it every day, I have come to know more about the Savior's mission and Atonement, more about His character than I've ever learned before in my life! As Alma taught, the foundation of our testimony must be the Savior Jesus Christ, and that foundation has been strengthened immensely for me as I've come to know Him through the pages of the Book of Mormon and the Spirit that testifies to me as I read. Read from the Book of Mormon every day!! I know that Jesus is the Christ! I know that His Church has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith! We are a part of the greatest work on the earth!

I love you all and wish you a happy, Book of Mormon-filled week!

Elder Rogers

A Thought from Mom:

"Our priorities are most visible in how we use our time. Someone has said, "Three things never come back--the spent arrow, the spoken word, and the lost opportunity." We cannot recycle or save the time allotted to us each day. With time, we have only one opportunity for choice, and then it is gone forever."

~Dallin H. Oaks