Monday, June 15, 2015

Transfer News!

We got transfer calls on Saturday night. I'm getting transferred! Home!

It's been a really good week. A great week to end on.

Last week as I was looking towards today, I didn't think I'd be able to function, because of so much anticipation, anxiety, excitement, etc. But I'm doing fine! I set up an appointment for tonight at the Beans' house (from the Coal Mine Ward) with Ashleigh from the singles' ward! That will be my very last teaching appointment as a full-time missionary.

Tomorrow morning we have to be at the mission office church building at 6:35 a.m., where I'll take my seat on the stand as a departing missionary. I, along with all the elders who came out with me and two sisters who came out six months later, will recite Doctrine and Covenants section 4. Then we'll see the transfers and have the opportunity to bear our testimonies. After that everyone goes back to their area and gets to work; except for us. We'll go to President Murdock's house for a very leisurely breakfast, then head to the temple at 1:00. We'll spend three hours there participating in whatever ordinances we choose. We have to be back to President's house at a certain time that evening for our farewell dinner and departing devotional. At some point during the day we'll also have our final interview with President Murdock. This day sounds really fun; I've been looking forward to it for a long time! Then we'll get up on Wednesday and head off to the Denver International Airport.

So it's more or less officially over... It's been a really good two years. It's been really hard as well. But I've learned a lot, and grown in many ways. I feel good about my mission.

I said I've learned a lot, and that's very true. I decided the other day to try and write down a few of the more important things I've learned. Here's the list (in no particular order):

24 Things I've Learned in the Past 24 Months

1. Attempting to gratify one's pride leads to contention and is never satisfying.
2. Change generally takes time.
3. To be truly happy, we must give our will and our whole heart to the Lord.
4. Faith without action is not faith at all; it is vain hope.
5. "Obedience is...a choice between our own limited knowledge and power and God’s unlimited wisdom and omnipotence.​" -L. Tom Perry​
​6.Clean things' physically and spiritually, bring peace.
7. "God hears my secret prayer." -Hymns, 144
8. The Book of Mormon is the most powerful witness of Christ we can ever read. I love the Book of Mormon.
9. Daily prayer and scripture study are indispensable keys to lasting conversion.​
10. No matter our trials or circumstances, the Gospel and Atonement of Jesus Christ will help.
11. Humility is a great strength.
12. The Savior lifts, encourages, and inspires others. We should do the same.
13. "[I]t must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things." -2 Nephi 2:11
14. We truly are in the last days.
15. Through Christ we can overcome anything.
16. Christlike love is the greatest of all feelings.
17. "[T]hrough the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved," (A. of F. 1:3) and without it, no one can.
18. "Keeping the commandments brings blessings, every time!​ ​
Breaking the commandments brings a loss of blessings, every time!"
​-Russell M. Nelson​
​19. "[The Lord is] able to do [His] own work." -2 Nephi 27:21
20. Procrastination is painful.
21. Family is the greatest treasure on earth and in eternity.
22. Missionary work cannot succeed without members.
23. The Book of Mormon is powerful evidence of the Restoration of the Gospel.
24. Christ is at the head of this Church, and this is His work.​

And a few practical things I've learned:

·         ​How to drive in a blizzard
·         Never offer leftovers to a Mexican.
·         Weather is unpredictable.
·         How to speak (Mexican) Spanish
·         A Mexican will almost never tell you no (unless you offer him leftovers).
·         Some dogs bite for no good reason.

​So, I'd say it's been a productive couple of years. Thank you all for all of your love, support, letters, thoughts, and prayers. It means the world to me. I know this is the Lord's work, and I know this is His Church. I've had the privilege of suffering fatigue and ridicule, of being mocked and cast out for Christ's sake. I've had the name of Jesus Christ pinned to my chest for all to see. I've born countless testimonies to countless people from all walks of life, and my testimony has grown in the process. Mine has been the privilege of walking with the Savior for the past two years, and I'll continue to stand as His witness forever! Nothing can compare to this experience. I love my Savior, and I know He lives!

I'll see you soon.

Elder Rogers

Monday, June 8, 2015


Mom sent a fortune cookie in a package...

DID YOU DO THIS ON PURPOSE??!?!? This was the fortune in the cookie you sent me. LIKE, REALLY. DID YOU DO THIS ON PURPOSE?!?

A few more pictures...


It really has been a great week! Things have been going awesomely.

We taught Christine a couple of times, and she seems to be progressing. She's still pretty stubborn about getting baptized, but I think (and really hope!) she'll get there. She always tells us she wants to move to Utah where her son lives (he's not a member), and that once she gets there she might consider getting baptized. I hope she does! She is fun to teach. She always has such good questions about simple doctrines, and usually ends up completely satisfied with our responses from the scriptures and personal knowledge.

I went back to my very first area on Wednesday, the Ken Caryl Ward. I spent the night in the very same apartment I lived in for the first three months of my mission. The smell brought back so many memories. I know that sounds weird, but you know what I mean? They say smell is the sense most closely linked to memory, and I believed it, because that smell took me back... We had a good day there and I was back on a bike for the day. Let me tell you. They need the car way more than we do. Their area had SO many hills!! But I must be in better shape than I was at the beginning of my mission, because it wasn't much of a problem for me this time around. I saw a couple of members from the ward that day. I don't remember too many. One of them introduced herself to me and then paused and said, "Have I met you?..." So I'll count that as remembering me. I was only in Ken Caryl for half the amount of time I was in Coal Mine, so it's no wonder so  many people remembered and greeted me at the Coal Mine Ward last week, and I can only remember a few people from Ken Caryl. In any case, it was a good day and I good chance to get back to the good ol' days!

While I was gone Elder Tavares and Elder Pulsipher taught Brandan, so I don't have any details about that visit. All I know is they taught him about fasting, and then we fasted with him on Sunday. It was his third time coming in a row! It was such a fantastic testimony meeting! Probably the best I've ever been to. One missionary had returned home that Thursday from Brazil, and he and his mom both gave great testimonies. (Fun fact: he entered the MTC three weeks AFTER me... ??) There is also a young man leaving on a mission to Taiwan tomorrow, and his mom gave us some tears over the pulpit. Elder Tavares and I also bore our testimonies, and one of the greatest of them all was BRANDAN! He asked, "Can I go up there?" Sure! So he went up and introduced himself to the ward and talked about all that's been going on in the past couple of years and the past couple of weeks, not in detail, but just explaining that the gospel has been a huge blessing in helping him deal with challenges. He especially bore testimony of the Book of Mormon. He is just so awesome. He also mentioned these "fine missionaries" knocking on his door, so hopefully that will help to build the members' confidence in us and we can start teaching some of their friends! His daughter, Amara, gets home from Austria today. She's so excited about everything related to church. But Brandan talked to her mom about it, and she flipped out. She said there's no way her daughter is going to be any part of the Mormon Church. But after talking to Brandan about it a little more, it sounds like she really just has a lot of misconceptions, and is very confused about the Church. So hopefully either she'll come to church and see, or we can talk to her about it and put her mind at ease.

On Thursday we had "Specialized Trainings." Those usually go hand in hand with interviews with the President, but they had special specialized training this time. The whole metro half of the mission was there! We got "little black boxes" in all of our cars. It's basically a back-seat driver on the windshield. It's actually really cool! You log in with a little card before you drive, and it records the aggressiveness or safety of your driving habits, then sends a report to the Mission President. We also had some good spiritually-uplifting trainings and a few on skills and procedures. It was really similar to a zone conference, actually...

Last week we got a text from a guy whose contact information was already in our phone. He texted and told us he wanted to get baptized. I talked to him on the phone last week and told him a few of the things that would entail, and then set up an appointment with him. His name is John. We had a great lesson with him on Friday afternoon with a member present at the chapel. He has many friends who are LDS and has a real desire to join the Church. He has a wife from China and a five-year-old daughter, who we haven't met, but who seem from what he says to be on board. He doesn't know too much of the doctrine of the Church, but he's attended several sacrament meetings. He says going to the LDS Church is the only thing that helps him cope with life's challenges without bringing more problems in its wake. We'll be meeting with him again this week, and then hopefully soon we can start teaching the whole family!

Man, this email is starting to get long! We taught a couple other lessons to some great people! things are going really well and we have quite a few lessons set up for the coming week already.

Let me just say that I know the Church is true, and I know the Gospel is real. The Atonement is real. I always have that testimony, but I really felt it in Sacrament meeting yesterday. I just HAD to get up and tell everyone. It is such a blessing to know these things. And a blessing to share them.

Elder Rogers

Monday, June 1, 2015

Another Week in Paradise!

Well, I guess I'm not sure about paradise, but it's pretty good.

This week we had interviews with President Murdock! Those are always good. (For me, anyway. I can't speak for other missionaries.) He told us he'd be interviewing everyone in our district from 1:30-3:00pm. Knowing that that wasn't going to happen (interviews always run long), we told our 5:00 dinner appointment that we might be a little late. We didn't get there until after 6:00! I guess a big part of that was my interview. Don't get me wrong, other people's interviews were long, but mine was about an hour and a half. We sat down at about 4:30 and President Murdock shared with me a little message on faith that he was sharing with all the missionaries, and then I just started talking to him about my mission, all I've learned, how I've felt about it, and on and on. And he had a lot to say as well. We also talked a lot about the mission culture (what goes on when the Mission President isn't around), and came to the conclusion that while it still isn't perfect, it's come leaps and bounds from where it was when we entered the field. We talked a little more about my mission and then ended the interview. Elder Tavares (and two other elders) didn't get the chance to have an interview that day, so we went to President's house two days later for Elder Tavares to have his interview, and for me to get a temple recommend interview (my recommend would have expired yesterday). So, although it was long, it was a good interview! I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to serve under the direction of President Murdock.

I've talked a bit about Chris who's moving into the ward. We helped him move around some boxes during the week so they could clean the apartment he's leaving (he's a midget, so it's hard for him to move stuff by himself). And then finally on Saturday we moved him out. The only problem-- the house he's moving into wasn't ready yet!! But the contract on his apartment was up, so he had to go. We took all of his stuff to storage (he has a LOT of stuff!). The coolest part is that the ward he currently lives in came to help him move out; and that's the Coal Mine ward! If you remember, I served there for the first six months of my mission! So I got to see quite a few of the guys from the ward, and most of them remembered me (including Brother Foster who's married to a lady Dad knew at BYU-Hawaii)! We'll (hopefully) be moving Chris into his house this coming Saturday.

We taught a couple of good lessons to Christine this week as well. She's the 88-year-old Catholic lady who's the most active non-member in the ward. She came to church on Sunday even though her fellowshipper (who normally brings her) couldn't come! So she's doing really well. I had the chance to teach the Gospel Principles class that day, and it was a great topic: The Church of Jesus Christ Today. So, I basically got to teach Lesson One: The Restoration. I'm glad she was there, because she seemed to get a lot out of the class.

Brandan also came to church! It was his second time, and he decided to stay for all three hours. Let me just say, he is so awesome. He cleaned 15 banks the night before and got home at some pitch-black hour of the morning, only to get up and come to church at 9:00 a.m. He's doing so great! As our ward mission leader put it. "You struck gold when you knocked on his door!" He's still facing so many trials in his personal and business life. He told us it's the hardest time he's had in his whole life! But he still told members at church, "These fine gentlemen came and knocked on my door, and everything's been great since!" Obviously things haven't been great, but the perspective the gospel brings make these things in his life bearable, and that's a miracle he's been recognizing.

My desk--in case you were wondering what it looks like!
We had a great lesson over lunch with him on Friday about Lehi's dream in 1 Nephi chapter 8. Brandan said people have been telling him in essence, "I'm glad you're making God a bigger part of your life, but beware of those Mormons..." We read Lehi's dream and talked about the group of people who "came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree." These people were "clinging" to the rod. We made the comparison of a dryer sheet clinging to a shirt. These people ate the fruit, and knew that it was "desirable to make one happy," just as Brandan knows the Gospel makes him happy. Yet these people, after partaking of the fruit, "cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed." They were ashamed, or embarrassed, by people in the "great and spacious building. . . (who) were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit." We then pointed out to Brandan the group who came next, "and. . . did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron." And when these people were mocked by those in the great and spacious building, they "heeded them not." And then to bring it home, Nephi gives us the words of verse 34: "These are the words of my father: For as many as heeded them, had fallen away." We drew out Lehi's dream as we explained it, and drew Brandon holding fast to the rod. He said, "I want to hold on with both hands. And my feet. Like, everything! I'm not letting go!" We explained that the iron rod was the word of God. And he's been doing fantastic at holding fast to it. He started reading the Book of Mormon a week ago, and he just finished 1 Nephi! He's doing great!
"Elder" Curth and Me

On Sunday, I got a call from Elder Curth! He's the Elder who trained me when I first got out into the mission field. He was passing through Denver on his way to Arizona from Ohio. So I met up with him and got a picture.

The Church is true! I love you all. Be excellent!

Elder Rogers

p.s. Here are a couple of my favorite Elder Tavares moments from the week:

At a dinner appointment:
"Yeah, they're this band called Politically Correct. They have everything in their band, like an African-American, an Asian, a Hispanic person, a normal American, both male and female."
"Elder, did you just say, 'a normal American?'..."

And this one from just about two hours ago:
"I was a really premature baby. I was like 32 weeks early."
"You were not 32 weeks early."
"Yeah, I was."
"No, you weren't."
"Yes, I really was! I was in an incubator for like three weeks."
"Look, Elder, I believe that you believe that; but I'm telling you it's not true."
"Well maybe it was like 22 weeks early."
"Elder, a full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks. You were not that early."
He kept decreasing the time until I finally agreed, to appease him.