Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Missionaries at the Paraguay River - Dec. 27

Christmas Day 2010

Sky in Paraguay

Church building in Concepcion

December 27, 2010

Hey Family!!!
It was great to hear from you guys. Sounds like you are all doing great. Here, after we finished calling, my comp called and he talked till 8:30, so after that we talked to a member because Christmas Night there is absolutely nothing that could be done and we had to be in the house asap because there are a lot of drunks haha.
One thing I wanted to do but I forgot was to teach you guys some Guarani. The word for “yes”, in Spanish, is “sí”, in Guaraní is “heẽ”, but the Tildide thing makes a nasal sound so ¨heẽ¨
I am going to send some pictures that we took this week of the baptism and of today when we went to the river to take pictures. It was pretty fun. Well I will talk to you guys in a week, thanks for everything!
Con Amor
Élder Lucas Rodgers

Monday, December 20, 2010

Luke and the Toucan

December 20, 2010

Hola Familia!
We had to move out of the chapel house today, so we are in another house........... but I think we are safe here from having to move again and I don't want to move! haha. I haven't gotten any packages, nothing interesting. This week we have been working in the newer parts of our area, they are farther away from the chapel and that means it’s harder to bring people to church.
(Just as a side note, something that is really interesting, there is a man in this “ceber” (a place to access the internet) and he is chatting with someone using a microphone and headphones. He is talking in Dutch! It’s really funny. Dutch is such a funny language. )
Another thing, Élder Wendorff has a package that he is going to take home with him for me and he will pass through Calgary. If you guys could go to the airport to get the package it would be great. He will get into Calgary at 1:45 Dec 28 from Dallas, and leaves at 3:00ish to Lethbridge so if you go about 2:00 you should be able to find him. I don’t have a flight number.
For garments get half L and half XL shirts, and pants all L. I have been trying to get a hold of the distribution center but have been having troubles. I will try to have more information by Saturday.
Luckily I read this missionary story about a month ago. I was going through a few Ensigns. I really loved the story.
You have probably seen the temperature here but it has been over 30º!! This is one of the hottest areas of our mission!
One more thing that Élder Lucas told me- he has more that 20 brothers and sisters. He gets lots of letters from people. If you want, some of the family can send me emails, and I will just respond in my letter to you guys. I have never gotten a letter from Jel or anyone, so if they want to, just have them send an email and then check the blog on Monday.
Thanks for everything.
your son. Élder Lucas Rodgers

Monday, December 13, 2010

2 Primary Girls who were Baptised, President Echague

Baptism of Adriano "Tomas" Franco - Nov. 27, 2010

Bug in a box - from President Echague

DECEMBER 13, 2010

Hola Familia!
como están?
Wow, this week went by sooo fast! President Madariaga was here for church and we had a dinner with him and a fireside. It was really nice to hear - he was telling us that before his mission is up he wants to see Concepción as a stake and that we have to focus reactivating and finding families with fathers. He also mentioned that he put some of the best missionaries here in Concepcion. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside haha. During church he taught a Gospel Principles class which was awesome! He bore a very strong testimony about the plan of salvation.
I had a really cool experience the last Saturday. Let me give a little background. Me and my companion are together still. Elder Jolley and his comp both left and Elder Lucas came and is training. Another elder got changed into Rama 3, and 2 sisters came to our rama. Sooooo,of course they come in and take ALL OF OUR INVESTIGATORS!!!! and in church we had one person (a boy that was hanging around the church and I invited him to come in) and the sisters had 5 people, (3 of the 5 were men. But back to the story, we were in a lesson with a lady that had seen a lot of poverty with children, and lost hope in God. She had a huge question, "Why doesn't God help poor children", and I told her that if she went to the church on Sunday, she would hear something about how children are special to God and how he will never leave them. I was surprised because this Sunday there was a primary presentation, and the song ¨Soy un hijo de Dios¨ (I am a child of God) was very prominent. It was sung 2 times, and the Primary President gave a little talk about los niños and how awesome they are. We also had 2 confirmations of the 2 girls that were baptized.
Yes, the baptism where Elder Jolley is there, was of Tomas. But his real name is Adriano Franco. We found out that "Tomas" was his nickname.
Ok I will find the number for you guys to call. and the next Monday I will send it to you. Thanks for the information on University. That bug, I really don't know what it is. President Echague (branch president) came up to us with that in a box.
Hows the weather doing, is it cold and snowy? We have had some HOT days here.
I LOVE it here in Concepción. People tell us it is one of the hottest places in Paraguay, I wouldn't mind if somebody turned on the a.c. My companion is really cool but always seems tired. I will just say (I'm not sure if I said this yet), the only companion that I had that got up on time was Élder Hanchett! So after being with him I have done a lot of getting up and starting the day by myself (pretty much every day after that). I am always hoping for a comp. like Élder Hanchett. This is his last 6 weeks in the mission, which is weird.
Thanks for everything you guys do for me, I love you guys so much
Con Mucho Amor,
Élder Lucas Rodgers

Monday, December 6, 2010

"Awesome" Toucan - December 1, 2010

Sign for Optics Store

Table For People to Ask Questions

Luke and companion, Elder Arzate, and Branch President

December 6, 2010

Hola Familia!
Wow this Christmas has come fast! It's a little scary if you think about it. This will be first Christmas in my life without snow. It will be weird! Haha. Well there is so much going on here in Concepción. A) With the HOT HOT HEAT there is a heat rash on my back. When I sweat it breaks out and hurts. I have been talking to Hermana Madariaga about this and she has been giving me ideas on what I have to do so that it will stop. It feels like needles poking in my back, especially when its hot. The temperature says it will be raining a lot this week. B) There are 2 sister missionaries coming to Concepcion 1 branch so we have to give them our old house and in January we are leaving the house behind the chapel and going to a house a little further away. C) Thursday - Sunday President and Hermana Madriaga are coming to Concepción to have a Christmas party. All the elders from the zone are coming so we need to find a place for 16 missionaries to sleep! D) Thursday is Changes (transfers)! and there are apparently going to be A LOT of CHANGES! We are expecting one of the biggest changes in the Mission. My brain is overexploding. hiná
Elder Jones is a friend of mine, he started his mission the same change that I went to Emboscada, and we were in the same zone. I was wet becuase it was hot and I was lifting bricks, I sweat so much here haha
GOOD NEWS!!! I got my second shoe!!! :) but the package was opened then taped shut, so send a list of what was in it. That was the last package that I received.
Christmas phone calls - I am talking with the elders to see what we can do. Elder Jolley told me that we can use Skype and that for missionaries apparently it is legal haha. He said that President Wade allowed missionaries to use Skype which I believe would be a little bit cheaper. If not I will give you a phone number of a regular land line to call. I will be finding more information on the Skype idea, tell me your thoughts.
I don't think I have received any answer about work after the mission. I have been thinking about engineering. Tell me what you think about that.
I am sending one more picture that you could send to Élder Bishop. It is pretty funny. It’s a sign that is for an optics store with the sign that is for seeing how your vision is.
This week we tried setting up a table to have people come to us who have questions. It wasn't too effective but there were some people who stopped. Also we found someone who has a toucan which I found was awesome haha. I’m also sending another photo of us playing with knives with our branch president.
Thank you guys for everything. I am blessed to be here in Paraguay. I am having some amazing spiritual experiences. I can see that this mission is preparing me for my life. There are some awesome people here!
Love Élder Lucas Rodgers
P.S. I love the Spanish language, or in Paraguay they call it ¨Castillano¨. For me it is a grand accomplishment to have learned this language. I REALLY, REALLY want to learn Guarani!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Baptism November 27, 2010 (Elder Jolley in suit)

Luke and Parrot

November 29, 2010

Hola Familia,
How’s it going? Everything is great here. We have had a good week. Right now in Concepción it is raining soooooo hard and long story made short, we moved to a house that is behind the church. It is the property of the church so we don't have to pay rent and it has an AIR CONDTIONING!!!!! We are living there with rama 2 (branch 2), Elder Jolley and Elder Gordon so yup I am once again living in the same place as elder Jolley. But changes are the 8th of December and he has been here for a long time so we all think he is leaving. But this house as a little hole in the roof. On Sunday during the day it was raining so Hard! It looked as though it was night. We had about 50 people at church! But it flooded the house so the elders started running to move our mattresses because for right now we don't have a bed frame.
We had a great baptism. It was awesome. Elder Jolley had a baptism the same day so we had our first baptisms together in the same city. It was really cool :) The church is true! :)
I came to the conclusion that there are 7 different types of transportation in Concepción; car, motorcycle, dirt bike, scooter, bicycle, quad, and horse and cart. And if you see a motorcycle or car without a license plate it’s normal. It’s weird to see haha, but to answer your questions, yes that is Bradley Foster sitting next to President and my comp is the elder furthest to the right. You should send this picture to Elder Bishop because there are two elders that he knows in this picture. I'm sorry this letter will be short. I am having problems with this machine,
I am losing hope in receiving the second Ecco shoe! I am thinking that if you are going to send the boots, to send them together, maybe. Keep it in your prayers that the ¨right¨ shoe will get to me!
Dang, the last time that you sent me a letter the Stampeders and the Flames were doing the best - well, I guess things can change,
I will see what I can do about garments this week. I will let you know next week
Thank you for everything!!
I am going to be sending a package home with Elder Wendorff, I have found that asking people to take things home with them is a lot cheaper and a lot faster, and there is a memory card. I love you guys, I know the church is true!
Love Élder Lucas Rodgers

P-S- The pictures with the parrot were when we did service at one of the members house then took some pictures with their parrot.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Picture on the roof of Elder Jolley's house

Luke's zone - "Zona Pedro Juan Caballero"

Rainy day in Concepcion

November 22, 2010

Hey Family!!
We have had a big week. It has been raining a storm here which is alright but not the most exciting. But zone conference was awesome. We left Concepción at 11:30\12:00 at night and slept on the bus. We got there about 6:30\7:00 in the morning then took a taxi to the church. They had breakfast for us there (one bowl of cereal). I got two! because I conveniently spilled my first bowl all over my suit! But we had a great meeting then after that we had a long time to wait. We didn't know what time our bus left until that night. The meeting ended at 2 in the afternoon so we left to go to the distribution center. It closes at 5 and about 1\2 hour to get there. We left finally at 3, got there at 4. got some things and went across the street to eat. Then we waited for the other Concepcion elders to meet up, then we were eating. We went across the street to the chapel that is next door to the temple. We wanted to have a last minute bathroom break before we got on our bus and while we were on our way to the chapel I saw some members that are from Emboscada. Turns out they had a temple trip the same day. So I spent a while talking to them (which was alright because our bus left at 9:30pm). Junior was there. That was his second time doing baptisms. It was really cool to see them there. Bruno was there. I talked to him for a while then they left. About an hour later we left and got home 3:30 in the morning.
We have been doing a lot of jumping from dry spot to another with all the rain. My shoes are holding up. We have an investigator who is a shoe smith. He fixed one of my Arnold Palmer shoes. I still haven't gotten the ¨right¨ shoe (as in I have the left shoe) but I should be waiting for the other one this week. I got the birthday package. I know Elder Hoffman. The boots look pretty good. I would be good with the same size and with a medium width I believe. It would be the best to have the actual garment thermals- would be less clothing to wear. The thermals you sent me are all short sleeves. I could try to find some here but I will see what I can do. Contact solution I can find here. It is a little pricey but it is here.
Thanks for the information on Élder McKee. Good news, he is back in the mission! Hermana Madariaga told me at zone conference. I don't know where he is but he is in Paraguay. I sent that Dear Elder, with a small uplifting message and the letter you sent, partly to see how long it takes.
Here are some pictures of zone conference and the rain. One was taken at night on the roof of Elder Jolley's house. The really bright light is the Virgin at night.
Love you all. Thanks for everything!!
Élder Lucas Rodgers

Monday, November 15, 2010

Luke and Brother Gomez at the Paraguay River

November 15, 2010

Hola Che Familia-kuera,
Well, good news - our really cool investigator, Thomas, is coming along. He prays every night and reads. He is awesome. He has questions but we always have answers. We have been working with the members to visit our investigators. We found another guy that (a while before) the missionaries were teaching. He knows everything!! But he drinks so we are working with him on that. This Wednesday we have zone conference and we have it with the San Lorenzo zone so I will just give the letters for Gabriela and Victor directly to the elders in Kennedy.
It’s not that the members here do not trust the missionaries. Well there have been some interesting missionaries here in the past, but all my converts are through members and so that is the smartest way to work. I have learned the importance of members in conversion.
That's all that I gave to Élder McKee so I’m glad they got to you. That bag was a little big and the fhiligrana (The material of those really cool necklaces) map of Paraguay cost G150 so I was a little hesitant on sending them through regular mail.
That will be cool to have an English-Guarani Dictionary. I have been using the book that Mark Johnson gave me. Elder Jolley knows a lot of Guaraní from being here so I think I will learn a lot. It is sort of a thing that all the elders that leave Concepción can speak (more or less) Guarani.
You mentioned last week about an Elder DeVoe. I know OF him. I could pick him out of a crowd.
That sucks about the bike accident. That is not the most exciting experience. Did you get scraped up?
I like the idea about the fast. I think that the 25th of this month would be good, then another one on Fast Sunday. I will be thinking a lot about it but one thing that I have been thinking a lot about is that now, talking another language, has made me have some of the most happiest moments of my life and when I am talking in Spanish to people it feels like a great accomplishment. I have been thinking if there would be anything I could study with Spanish.
Yesterday we taught a great lesson on Moroni and how he was smart. They had to build armor first then spiritual armor. There is no way we can win except by God's help. I KNOW that if God is with us we cannot fail. Thank you for everything! I love you guys so much! Thank you for your examples in my life. Brother Gomez (from the picture a couple weeks ago in front of the river) said in his talk two Sundays ago that the best teacher teaches from example, which I thank you for everything you have taught me.
Con Muchisimo Amor,
Élder Lucas Rodgers

Monday, November 8, 2010

Luke by the Paraguay River, with sombrero

Out to dinner on Nov. 4, with Elder Jolley

November 8, 2010

Hola Familia, Como Esta,

Well we had a great week. We have been working with a man called Thomas Franco. He is really cool. We contacted his house and Habia Sido, his son, was a less active member from Asuncion. Ever since we have been visiting him he is telling us that he has found more tranquility in his life. He told us, ¨I will read and pray to find out if these things are true.¨ We are going to visit him today, see how he is doing. He came to church yesterday only for 2 hours but he really liked it. I was happy that the testimonies were all very nice because in Rama 2 there was one guy talking about things of the temple... interesting things about the temple. So our ward is awesome - sorry, our branch. We have been having some really cool experiences here. We have been working to gain the trust of the leaders in our branch.
Zone conference got moved back another week because Elder Bradley Foster is coming to speak to us. That will be really cool.
You should not have sent letters to Elder Lucas!!!!!!!!!!! The Canadian from Raymond is Elder Wendorf. Elder Lucas is from Ecuador!!!!! Elder Wendorf, the old companion of Elder Jolley, was here in Concepcion but now is in Asuncion. I don’t have a picture of Elder Lucas. Sorry if something I said confused you guys.
Thanks for the letters. I will send those letters to Gabriela and Victor and tell you if I ever get a response from them. Thanks for everything. I will expect a shoe this week, haha.
Well keep this on the low-down but President is going to be splitting my area! So we have to look for a house for the other missionaries, elders or sisters we don't know but probably the first week of December.
Thanks for everything. I love you guys so much. There is a photo from when we went out to dinner on the 4th and when we passed by the river. I have my ¨Sombrero Piri¨
Con Amor,
Élder Lucas Rodgers

Monday, November 1, 2010

Elder Rodgers in Concepcion

Luke at a religious statue

Luke and Elder Arzate

November 1, 2010

Hola Familia!!
Wow, one week in Concepción. It can get so hot here. This Thursday it was about 40C one of the members said. WOW! Well this place is really cool. The stake...or I should say district, consists of four branches in Concepción- Horqueta, Yby Yau, San Pedro, Santani. There is, compared to all my other areas, almost no Spanish (well there is, of course, but not as much). I have been learning a lot and this week I am planning on studying a lot!
Well, I got your package, with one shoe!! So now I have to wait to get the next one... haha. All the mail that comes to Concepción, Horqueta, and Yby Yau, comes straight to our house so the second shoe will also come straight to my house haha.
Concepción has so much religious culture. You will be able to tell by looking at one of the pictures. It reminds me of one of the commandments. ¨DO NOT worship idols¨!!!! (The stars around her head light up at night.)
Well about the call, I never had thought that I might go to South America. It had never crossed my mind but as soon as I saw the map and the words Paraguay Asuncion North Mission, I just thought to myself, ¨Yup, that’s right.¨ Especially the ¨North¨ part, for some reason ¨North¨ really stood out, and now that I am really far north of Asuncion, I think this is where I need to be.
Well yesterday we had 5 people in church (investigatores). One of them was a lady that just randomly walked in. We have to go and look for her and where she lives. One was a youth that lives almost across the street and one block from the church and the other three are older men. Two of those older men have a baptismal date for 27th of November, Agustin & Thomas, We are going to have to really work with them to make sure they have desires. They are really cool people, and both were found through contacting.
My area of Concepción is sort of the main area but it also includes a little island called Chaco-i. We went there during the past week. You have to pay someone to take you over by boat. It was kinda cool but my comp was thirsty and asked for water so we both had a glass of water which turns out is from the river and my comp got sick after that and we were in the house for a long time till about 6-7 when someone could stay with my comp and I could go and work with Elder Jolley in his area.
I have really been seeing the guidance of the Spirit in my life here. It’s really wonderful. There is one thing I ask you guys if you could do. Remember Gabriela and Victor, my first converts? I got word from an elder that just left that area that they are a little inactive and haven’t been to church in a long time. Write them a letter with your testimonies and to excite them. In January they will complete one year as members and I would love to see them go through the temple. Write it in English and I will translate it and send it to them. Thanks a lot.
But in short, CONCEPCIÓN ROCKS haha. I'm really excited to be here. By the way, good timing on the shoes. I have a hole in both my Ecco shoes. Now I just have to wait to use both shoes. I saw all the pictures you sent. WOW everyone is growing up!! especially Seth! Wow.
Thanks for the update on the Flames and the Stampeders. It’s good to know that they are doing good.
Thanks for the e-card! That was really nice. Next Tuesday we will have Zone conference and will have to travel to Asuncion. Thanks for everything! Love you LOTS!!
Élder Lucas Rodgers

Monday, October 25, 2010

Luke and Elder Ulises Villalba (from Benjamine Aceval, Paraguay)

Luke and Elder McKee (from Vernon, Utah)

October 25, 2010

Hola Familia,
Well I was reading your letter. Thanks. I could really tell that I had to be With Élder McKee. I think I was put with him for a reason. I did all I could to help him and to support him. I'm sure the wording that I am using and the tenses that I am using sound a little weird but Élder McKee left on Wednesday, and on Friday I left Mburucuya. That area is now the area for the Assistants. I left right after my time with him. I learned so much in those 2 weeks there. He became a real good friend. The doctors don't know what is wrong so they sent him to the States. But one night we finished companionship prayer and we just started talking and came to the conclusion that the Lord needs him somewhere else and it’s true the way of thinking for the Lord is a lot different than the way of our thinking. During the time that I was helping him I was on the phone a whole bunch with President and Hermana Madariaga during those 2 weeks and one time President Madariaga was thanking me for what I was doing and he was really sincere in what he said. Then the night that we got changes I called Hermana Madariaga thanking her and talking about the fact that I was put in Mburucuya for a reason that we could really understand. My testimony has really been growing lately from the experiences that I have been having.
But like I did say I am no longer in Mburucuya and you probably want to know where I went, right? Well it was nice to be close to the office. One time you mentioned something, while I was in Emboscada, like ¨Its so nice that you are so close to Asuncion, but I guess one change could change that right?¨ Now I am here to say Yup! It was really nice to be close to Asuncion. Right now I am in a city called Concepción. If you can find it on the map, it is a little further away than all my other areas. I got here Friday night after an 8- hour bus ride!!!! So looks like I will be experiencing a different part of Paraguay. The Paraguay River is in my area, the big river that runs through Paraguay. But something cool is that Élder Jolley, my MTC comp., is in another area here too so I have been seeing him around here. I am in Concepción 1, Élder Jolley is in 2 and the district leader is in 3. My new companion is Élder Arzate from California. I haven’t been here for too long but I have already had a cool experience. During my last week in Kennedy, the other 2 elders that were in our ward had a baptism of a family- a baptisim and a wedding. It was a really cool family and I was at church for their confirmation. Well I left for Emboscada and went on my way then my first day here Élder Arzate was telling me about this awesome family that lives here, his favorite family It was the last visit we had for the night. We walked in the house and it was the same family!!!, a family I knew in Kennedy! Wow I was so awestruck, it was amazing!
The two elders in the photo -one is Élder McKee and the other is Élder Ulises Villalba a member from Benjamine Aceval who I worked with in Mburucuya.
Mom, Dad thanks for everything you do for me. I love you guy so much. You two are such examples in my life. I have been growing a stronger testimony of Jesus Christ during this time and I am going to start “Jesus the Christ” which will boost my testimony, I know.
I have I love for the Paraguayan people. There is a special place for them in my heart. I was talking with Élder McKee one night and we were talking about divine mission calls and I mentioned that how, when I received my call that said I was going to Paraguay, I had an instant witness that that was the right place for me to go and there is a reason that I had to go here.
I am sincerely thankful for everything. This time is special for me- this time that I get to wear a plaque that has our last name and the name of our Savior. Thank you.
Love, Élder Lucas Rodgers

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The local missionary diet

October 18, 2010

Hola Familia,
Well, we had an interesting week. We have been running back and forth between our house and the hospital. We are coming down to the final days of what we are going to do with my comp. I have only worked with him for one morning when he felt good but then he felt the pain again and couldn't continue. President said that if something doesn't change we may have “changes”. The thing is, if he goes home for surgery he will not come back to Paraguay. He is in so much pain and does not get too much sleep. President was fasting for him yesterday. I hope we don't get another special change this week. I want to stay and work with him. Keep him in your prayers.
But the good thing about this area is that if we were in the house and were hungry we would order Pizza Hut, haha!
This has been a hard week because we have not been able to find anybody to teach. It’s a lot different than my other areas. It’s really hard to find people. I really want to find a cool family during the time I have here. I always have this desire that I can find a family here that I can really help. I am learning more and more about following the spirit precisely. I am learning a lot but I still have a little ways to go. I have been having some really cool spiritual experiences that I can see did not come from me. The Lord has been guiding me to the people who need the most help. This Sunday we have been working with a less active family from about 2 years because they have a 9 year old daughter that has not been baptized yet. They said they would come to church. I have to be honest, I really didn't believe them. I have heard that line so many times, that they would come to church, but they came!! It was really cool. We have a baptismal date with the daughter for November 6th.
But the thing here is that the ward is really strong and there are some very strong members so if you guys have any ideas of member missionary work they would be appreciated haha. I have been making some plans with the ward to do another activity like we did in Emboscada about the Plan of Salvation. I think it would work great here.
I haven't given the address of Sister Neitz to Machucas because I have not seen them since. And about the Health plan, that is a lot of information. I was looking for something a little simpler but maybe I will print it out and read it. That picture of Grandma and the pumpkin pie is awesome. I laughed, but it looks SO good!!!
Wow those pictures were awesome, thanks. It’s good to see that everyone is alright, That's way awesome to hear about Jake! That's really cool.
I was thinking if it would be possible to look around now to see if there is a job in Calgary that they want people that speak Spanish. I understand it is still a long time away but keep it in mind when you are out and about. I love this language. It’s really cool. I still have troubles once and a while but I can really get my point across to just about anyone. I can see the Lord has been helping me A LOT. I don't think I could have done this all by myself. I think it would have been impossible. Thanks for all your help with everything! I love you guys so much. Good job on singing in church. I’m sure it was awesome! I will be sending some letters home to Grandma and Grandpa and Ustedes.
Con mucho amor,
Elder Lucas Rodgers

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October 11, 2010

Hola Familia!
Well where do I begin... Elder Jesus David Jaime is the name of Elder Jaime. He is from Cartagena. His last day is Oct 27. Shirt size is probably 17. I am wearing a 17 ½ right now and it is a little big but I don’t know if getting it any smaller than 17 would be uncomfortable - maybe 16½ .
There was something that I forgot to talk about in my last letter. When the family of Nimia Gonzalez went to conference she was touched by the talk of President Monson. There were things in his talk to which she could relate. It was really inspiring to see her excitement when she was recounting her experience.
But about 2 days later on Tuesday I was finishing a letter I was writing to Spencer W. and cleaning my desk when all of a sudden my comp said "OH-NO" "Elder Royers ejeumi!!!" (Elder Rodgers, come here). He was talking on the phone. I said, "What happened???" He gave me the phone. It was the zone leaders. They told me that I was changing areas and I had to be in the office the next morning at 8!!!!!!! I said “ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!! NO!" They told me that I was going to an area called Benjamin Aceval, an area that is more or less in the Chaco, and I would be going with an Elder Wightford who also was going home with elder Jaime. So that day we told everyone bye. There was no notice -24 hours, no more. So the next morning we were in a taxi with all my things. We got to the office and there were about 2 other companionships there waiting. They called President (who wasn’t there yet). He said “No, because there are some more changes that I have made!” So we had to wait to see if we got changed to another area. There were about 7-8 companionships that were affected by this change so we had our changes but President told us he made some more changes. haha,
So after a while President gets to the office and he says to 8 elders to come into a room, and I was one of them. So I was not going to be going to Benjamin (In Spanish it is said Ben-ha-meen (J in Spanish is like the H). An Elder Jones went there. I got sent to.....are you ready......a ward in Asuncion, that’s right, a area in the heart of Asuncion, called....Mburucuya! (mbu-ru-cu-ja)! I think it was an old area of Sister Neitz. She mentioned it in one of her letters. But I really like it. The chapel that I meet in every Sunday is the same chapel that the mission office is in! So I am right in the middle of Asuncion....and...there is a Burger King right across the street! haha and a really nice supermarket too, and we can order pizza from Pizza Hut! (But it’s really expensive…).
My new companion is Elder McKee from Vernon Utah. This is his second change in the mission. That is one thing that President told me, that I was going up as senior companion. So that’s interesting eh? My companion is having problems with his kidneys and can barely walk. There is a young man here from Benjamin Aceval so my companion stays with members across the street and the young man works with me. We don’t know the area so we have been getting to know everyone. Today we are going to talk to President about what will happen with my companion, keep him in your prayers!! We are thinking that he will have to have surgery. The doctors here don’t know anything.
It kind of sucked because this Sunday they dedicated the chapel in Emboscada, but the Lord wants me here so I am now here. But my companion has been talking to Dr. Hollingsworth. Last Monday he took a trip to Buenos Aires but the doctor really didn’t do anything.
I have a question that a lot of people have asked me and to tell the truth I really don’t know. What is the health plan of Canada, or Alberta - what is the Health dealio? I really don’t know so if you could tell me there are a lot of people curious here.
I TOTALLY forgot about Thanksgiving. Good thing Elder Jolley called me and wished me a Happy Thanksgiving, haha. His comp is Elder Wendorff from Raymond, Alberta. So maybe I’ll go to Burger King or something. I KNOW I won’t be able to find Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie there :’(. Tell her to send me some!!!!!  …Well let’s see that’s not a good idea …well…Just put it in the freezer for now, haha. Paraguay is starting to get hotter..... Dun...Dun....DUN!!!!!!
So as I was saying I am actually writing this letter from the computer of Sister Madariaga in the office so anything that you send I will get right away. I just got the letter with the bookmark that is in Spanish. But thank you for everything!! I love you guys so much and if the family is there eating Thanksgiving dinner, all I know is they are all together. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU GUYS!! I am thankful for this wonderful experience that I have to be here serving in Paraguay, It‘s an experience that is one of a kind. I am thankful for the restored gospel and for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and my wonderful Family!!! Save a plate for me! Well, try too. Thanks for everything. Hope you guys have a great week/day.
Con muchisimo amor,
Elder Lucas Rodgers

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pillar of light in Paraguay

Cutting Trees and Bringing Firewood with Nery

Worn-out Shoes (Eccos)

"Big Bug"

Guarani-Language Nametag (plaque)

"Filigrana" map of Paraguay

Bus to General Conference

October 4, 2010

Hola Familia!
Well, I just want to start off by saying Wow, General Conference was AMAZING! I listened to a few of the sessions in Spanish Sunday morning and half of Priesthood. Wow, one talk that I loved was by Claudio R.M. Costa. (He came to the MTC when I was there) and what he said about prophets, the 14 points. He was so strong in his voice. A cool thing is that there are some apostles who pre- record their talk in Spanish and when they go to give their talk the people hear the voice to the actual apostle- Elder Anderson, Christofferson, Scott. I never really thought about it before but what a BLESSING to listen to the prophet’s voice, not to have someone translate it, but to hear the words from his own lips. What a blessing! Most of the world listens to the prophet through someone else. Which, don't get me wrong, it’s awesome to hear what he is saying, but it’s something else to hear the prophets actual voice.
Wow what a week. It was so hard to invite people General Conference, well the invitation was easy but picking them up was hard because there are a lot of people who forgot about changing the hour. We moved forward an hour.
I was really hoping they would say something about the Calgary Temple, Oh well there is always next session, haha.
Well there are pictures of when we went with a new member to go cut down a tree and bring firewood. I had a very strong spiritual experience. I saw a pillar of light....... (You will understand when you see the picture haha). The bus picture was when we took a bus to general conference and the bug was a big bug we found on the sidewalk. The new convert's name is Nery.
I didn't get my old plaque but I got a cool new one. It’s not in Spanish, but in another language in Paraguay, that’s right, GUARANI! Whoo! and a cool thing of fhiligrana ,a little map of Paraguay, I will try to send it home. It’s a little fragile. My comp. has been buying some last minute Paraguay things so I ordered a few Paraguay ties. Next Monday I will be taking pictures that they will put on and next Monday I will send the pictures.
This month has been hard because my comp came here with 10 mil so I had to pay for everything until the beginning of this month when we get more money. We get 850 mil every month and the day we got the money he spent 750ish mil on cool Paraguayan clothing.... so now he is planning on selling his camera so that he has money for the rest of the month.
No news yet about the ring, but I still have faith! Thanks for the pictures. That’s really cool. I was thinking of the new elder from Canada and I really wish I had his time over. It is really going too fast.
Just to let you know the white shirts that I like the most are the George mark from Wal-mart. How long do you think it will take to receive the shoes? My nice Eccos are no longer waterproof and today we had a lot of rain.
Thanks for everything.
Con Amor,
Élder Lucas Rodgers

Monday, September 27, 2010

Luke at the Asuncion Temple