Monday, May 11, 2015

And the First Shall be Last!

My new area is the Dakota Ridge ward! It's in the same district where I started my mission in the Ken Caryl and Coal Mine wards, so it's a pretty familiar area.

It's been one crazy week! We started out by driving down from Frisco to stay with the xone Leaders in Denver on Monday night. One of them, Elder Handley, tore his ACL while playing soccer that day, and he had to go home for surgery. He'll be home for several months. So that's sad.

But anyway, we got to transfer meeting and I met my new new companion, Elder Tavares (tuh-VAIR-ez)! He's from Maple Valley Washington. He just arrived in Denver on Monday, so he's got a grand total of one week in the field! He's very green. Kind of awkward, but he doesn't lack confidence, so that's good.

We spent all day Tuesday running errands. While Elder Ramirez was waiting for his new companion to come over from out west, I took the truck around to a million places to get a bike for Elder Tavares, and a helmet
A REAL selfie in my helmet!
and bike lock for both of us (I brought a bike over from Frisco). And... A ton of other things. Like, we printed out a map of our area at the library because we're whitewashing and we have no clue where anything is. We spent basically all day doing that before dinner.

We also taught a nice old lady named Christine. She's been taught by the Elders for years now. She's an 88-year-old widow who lives alone in our apartment complex. She calls herself a "Catholic-Mormon." No matter how hard missionaries of members try to explain it, she doesn't understand the concept of priesthood authority, and believes her baptism to be valid. But she love the Church and comes every Sunday! One great thing about her is that she is a fantastic missionary! She talks to everyone about the Church! She has lots of religious symbols and sayings on the walls and stuff, so when people ask her about them, she says, "I'm a Catholic, but I LOVE the Mormons!" And according to her, they say, "You don't mean that!..." "Yes I do, yes I do, yes I do!!" Then she gives the pamphlets she gets from the missionaries or listens to the book of Mormon on audio-book with them or invites them to hear from the missionaries! So that's great!

I've gotten a lot of good exercise on my bike! The day after transfers, I took Elder T. out for his first tracting experience. It was door after door closed in our face. It made me remember what it's like being an English missionary. Uuuhhg. When we hit the end of the road, I turned around and started to walk back to where we had locked our bikes. Elder T. said, "You want to work our way back to the bikes on the other side?"
I didn't, but I said, "Yeah, good idea." So we started to knock doors on the other side of the street. We got into the second door, and had a great conversation with a man named Brandon. As it turns out, he's a completely inactive member of the Church! He talked about how for the past two years, God has been "chasing him." He gratefully accepted our invitation to come back and teach him (he also has a wife and kids who are not members of the Church!). We went back on Friday and had a great lesson with him. He said he's more than willing to come back to Church, he just didn't know how. So that's AWESOME! It reminds me of my first day on the mission when Elder Curth and I drove past some people unloading furniture from a truck, and I said, "Maybe they need some help." And they did!

Other than that we've met and taught a couple of less-actives in the ward who were being taught by the previous Elders. I feel kind of bad because it's been kind of a slow week for Elder Tavares. But I think he's adjusting well. On Friday morning we went to a "Trainer's Training." Afterwards I wandered into President Murdock's office to look at the transfer board. I don't know if I'm supposed to or even allowed to jsut walk into his office, but... I kind of really don't care... So anyway, while I was looking at the transfer board he walked in and asked about Elder Tavares (I guess he didn't mind me being in there). He said he had planned on me training a different missionary,  but two hours before transfers he felt prompted to switch things up and put me with Elder Tavares. So at least I can have confidence that not only the assignment, but also the assignee is inspired!

As I mentioned in our Skype call on Sunday, the switch from Spanish back to English is super hard for me. I also really enjoyed having a companion with a little more experience for... practically the first time (with Elder Ramirez). But it's okay. Maybe the Lord is trying to help me not get complacent. There's definitely a lot of opportunity to grow here! The ward is fantastic. I've only met a few of the members, but they're already some of the greatest I've known on my mission! The outgoing missionaries were good, but they didn't leave a ton of progressing investigators in their wake. So we're basically starting fresh. But it's alright, because the ward, like I said, is really supportive.

We also got to spend mothers day getting the ox out of the mire in a member family's basement. It flooded, and we got to carry ALL of their stuff upstairs and rip out ALL of the carpet! It was tons of fun! In church, when they announced the need for help (because it was Mother's Day) I said, "We don't have wives. We'll be there!" Someone responded, "Did you say you don't have lives?" That too.
It SNEW on Mother's Day!
That's the situation for now! Things are moving along! And things are pretty hard! But hard things make you grow! I also forgot to mention that as a trainer I'm reading the Book of Mormon in 42 days (one transfer). I'm doing pretty good with keeping up so far. I love it! I've read through it a few times on my mission, but I've never been able to beat the 42-day challenge! I started a day or two after transfers, and I hope to be finished by June 16th. Make sure you're reading every day!

Thank you for the letters and packages and encouragement! I love you all SO much!

Elder Rogers

Oh yeah! Super funny story (you probably had to be there)! We had just tried visiting a former investigator one night, and they weren't home. As we were mounting our bikes, I noticed a guy nearby and said to Elder Tavares, "Why don't you go talk to him?" He hadn't ever OYMed (open your mouth) someone. He looked around, then said, "He's walking his dog and it's raining."  .  .  . 

"Aaaand?..."  .  .  . 
"Good point." So he went and talked to the guy. It's just so funny how you can find an excuse not to talk to someone, even when your excuses don't make any sense. At all.

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