Monday, May 30, 2011

Missionaries at the Paraguay Asuncion North Mission office

Luke and his new companion, Elder Thomson, from Utah

May 30, 2011

Hola Family,

I am writing you from another city! but still far away from Asuncion. It’s a city called Peter John Gentleman or in Spanish - Pedro Juan Caballero. It is right next to Brazil. We are learning a little Portuguese haha. It’s a chilly area!, the coldest zone in the mission haha. So I will be here for winter, haha. We are teaching a Brazilian girl (Emily) but she speaks Spanish perfectly. The missionaries usually give away Portuguese copies of the Book of Mormon, haha. We have been working with a man, Vicente. He likes speaking Portuguese more than Spanish but with us he has to speak Spanish. His baptismal date is for Sunday after church, so well see - if he doesn’t smoke or drink this week. He really wants to follow Christ. There has been a great change in his life and a greater desire to follow the Savior. In all this city there are 5 companionships of missionaries. We are in rama 1. It is a very rich place (in comparison) because there is a very strong Brazilian influence. You can even use Brazilian money here - reals. There are very big super markets with GOOD food!

I feel that my testimony of the Plan of Salvation has grown here. I feel that every trial that we have is something that God wants for us to learn. I have been listening to many talks that I have on my iPod and a common theme is that trials make us stronger and if we didn't have them there would be no purpose. It is a very saddening experience to hear about the death of a family member but the knowledge that we can live with our families again is a promise that is given from God and an everlasting promise. I love the Savior. I have learned so much from him on my mission. He knows how to shape my life with things that he knows I need. For example, why in the world would a parent give a needle to their child? That is PAINFULL!! Why would a parent willingly inflict pain on their baby? Because they know that a little pain now will save them from suffering in the future, save them from trials that they can not handle. God knows what we can handle and what we can not. If we receive a trial from God it is because he knows we can overcome it and win the victory over our trials. And just think of what we learned. We can look back and see that we have grown.

I love you all soo much and always pray for you, especially for Grandma Spackman. I pray that God can be with her more than ever. I love you Grandma!!!! Thanks for everything, everything that you guys do for me.

Love, Elder Lucas Rodgers

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Luke and Christian

Luke and Jose

Luke and companion, Elder Salvatierra, and Jorge and Mirta Britez

May 23, 2011

Hola Familia,

It feels like a loss that Grandpa is gone, but the hope that we have to see him again takes away the pains. I know we will be able to see Grandpa again. He was an amazing man and lived an honorable life. I think he is playing golf as we speak.

Like I said we will be getting our changes tonight, so exciting!!! This change went by sooooo fast and I am so happy we could have a miracle baptism!! Seriously, when I first met the lady she could barely walk. It was super hard to get out of bed and to sit down, and her husband didn't have a steady job. We always promised her blessings (when I was with Elder Meneses) but she never came to church. We even planned to have a taxi come by their house. Until one Sunday (when I was with Elder Salvatierra) when we were in the church and we heard someone entering the old bakery where we have our meetings. It was Jorge and Mirta!!!! I didn't know if I was dreaming or what happened. She accepted a baptismal date because she had heard all the lessons when the elders were teaching Jorge. Needless to say she has a lot more health now. She can do more things around the house. A miracle has passed in their lives!! Then after the baptism on Sunday there was a priesthood conference (there are some pictures of people from rama 2 and rama 1 that I am sending). The youth that is in a suit's name is José and the youth without a suit and holding the Canadian flag is Christian, who in about 10 days is leaving to go on his mission to Perú. He is soo excited. Jorge was sustained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and after the meeting he was ordained an elder. WHAT A MIRACLE!!! In a year from now they can go to the temple!

I have a question for grandma. I need a recipe for granola, the cereal that she makes so that I can try to make it here. I believe that everything can be found here too.

I love you guys soo much and know the Plan of Salvation is real.

Con amor y muchisimo cariño,

Élder Lucas Rodgers

Monday, May 16, 2011

Missionaries at the Paraguay Asuncion North Mission office

May 15, 2011

Hola Che familia-kuera!!!

Como andan!

Big news - Mirta Britez thinks she will be baptized next Tuesday!! Her husband, Jorge Britez, was baptized by Elder Jolley and Elder Gordon while they were here so it will be completing a family!!! But at the same time will be a miracle baptism. The thing is that she is sick and cannot walk and is always sick. But the past two weeks to get to church they took a taxi! It is so awesome! She reads and prays and goes to church. On Sunday we had a VERY spiritual lesson with her and invited her to be baptized and she accepted for the 24th. I felt the Spirit soooooooo strong there with them. Then we finished the lesson with a blessing because she has not been feeling good. President Madariaga came down for Saturday and had an interview with Jorge for the Melchizedek priesthood so this familia is progressing.

Good news, one of the members told me that I am looking more ¨flaco¨ (skinny). It looks like I am loosing weight. Saturday we went running in the morning. This week too we have plans to run. Man this change has gone by too fast. We are already on the last week and it doesn’t feel like I worked with Elder Salvatierra for that long. We have been working a lot more efficiently now that we don’t live with two other elders. We are seeing the fruit of our labours and praying that Mirta can be baptized before the end of this change so I can be there for her baptism and her husband will be able to baptize her.

Yesterday we went to the branch president’s house and did a practice teaching with them. They pretended to be investigators and we taught them. They said that it was very well done. It is a technique that our Mission President had told us to do. I think it is a great way to gain the confidence of the members and to get referrals because for the most part all the members in our branch are converts to the church and the can always use a testimony booster and it helps the missionaries build confidence with the members. Hna. Madariaga, during the zone conference, talked about M&Ms , members and missionaries, and how they always have to be together and working together.

My companion started this week being really sick Tuesday and Wednesday and I started being sick (I think I got his bug) Thursday Friday and Saturday, and I still have a little sniffle and a small cough so I am getting over it. But thanks for all your help and for taking the time out of your week to write me. I really appreciate it.

That song - only the mp3 format or however you can. Maybe if you can only get the words just send that and it will be okay but I would prefer the audio too. But I had troubles with the computer so I have to go now but I love you all and pray for you always.

Love Elder Lucas Rodgers, or “Royers” like the people say here.

P.S. See what the requirements are to be at BYU and what are the requirements to enter in to a normal class there.

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9, 2011

Hola familia,

Well dad your Guarani is getting good haha! Mom, you look great. I am now on my way to lose the rest of the weight that I have. I have to get up and run in the morning if I really want to see success and that is going to be really hard to do! But we’ll see. I have a companion who will help me.

Wow, it was great to be able to talk to you guys! I am thankful for being able to do that.

We had a good week - temple, zone conference, interviews, talking to parents. It was interesting talking to Elder Salvatierra´s family. I could understand everything that they were saying besides the part where they were all laughing and it was breaking up, haha. But it’s good to know everyone is good at home.

Hey, I have something to say to Catlin in China!!!!! I want to know if she knows an Amber Seely because her brother is serving in Concepcion with me - Elder Packard. He got a letter saying that his older sister was in china in a BYU band so see if there is a connection there. I think she plays flute.

As for Paraguay, we have not entered into a full winter but it still is a little hot.

You guys sent me a picture a while ago and you said there was a missionary moms night and there were pictures of me on the wall. What was that all about? If you could explain that a little.
We have a family home evening with a family who we have been reactivating. The father is not a member and they are not married yet. We want to have a movie night and watch the new “Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration” movie. We hope that he is there.

Well thanks for everything! I love you all soooo much!

Onward with la obra misional!!!!!!

Love Elder Lucas Rodgers

P.S. there is a song from the D & C movie that I really love - from Zion’s camp, when they are all in the cabin and it is storming outside. I don't know if you can get that song to send. I really really like it - the Zion’s camp song.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 2, 2011

Hola Familia.

Well we are having good weather here in Concepción. It is cold!! I never thought that it was possible!!! Wow!

Well big week! Thursday night we leave for Asuncion and arrive for Zone Conference on Friday. Then Friday night TEMPLE!!!! Then come back Saturday morning. Then Sunday is Mothers’ Day. I will be online at 6:00 my time and 4:00 your time. So yes you can use the camera for the Skype call. I will be using a computer shop here and will be able to talk and see you guys on it. Pretty much every computer shop has cameras here.

We had a very normal Sunday. There weren’t too many people so it was alright.

It’s weird seeing pictures of snow, it really is. Its weird that I grew up with it but have not seen it for a looooooooong time. There are times when I miss it but usually I am thanking God that it does not exist here, haha.

There is not too much to mention because we will be talking this week, but yesterday we found a family of 15 people!! They don’t all live there. There are lots of her kids that work in the Chaco but all the nietos (grandchildren) are there. We are going back tomorrow to teach them. There is something that we have been trying to improve, that is putting the baptismal date on the first visit. It is something that I want to get better at. Sometimes we are a little worried that the people will say no and never receive us again but if we do we find their biggest doubt, they don't have time to find excuses. Then we know if they will progress or not. We show them why we are there and what purpose we have.

I have a question. Can you fill me in on how Elder Matt Vance is doing? It has been a long time since I heard from him.

I got letters that I am sending out, including one with 2 memory cards for you guys. I think I will send a package (little package).

Thanks for everything,

Love Elder Lucas Rodgers

P.S. Today I set up an account - lucas.rodgers1. I added you guys so see if it came up. Well we will be talking. Thanks, and problems call the number on the previous email. Love you all!