Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011

Hey Family!
Well we had a good week but we are officially in WINTER!!! Wow it has been cold. I have had three layers of pant and about 4 layers of shirts/jackets. But it is all good. We can now enjoy hot chocolate in JUNE/JULY. But for me it feels normal. I feel Paraguayo haha. This week something funny happened. I lost my voice! That is the worst thing that can happen to a missionary and it was during a division with Elder Walker in his area, haha. So it was a training division and I couldn’t talk... jaja. But I learned a lot from him although almost nobody could understand me. It really sucked because I really wanted to talk to people and I couldn’t! Then of course, the next day I got it back more fully.
Saturday our branch president asked us to give talks, so that was fun. I have gotten soo used to giving talks here. I talked about the story of Moses and the serpents that the Lord sent and how there were many people who did not believe that something so small could do something like save them. And all they had to do was look, move their heads! But something that I can’t believe is that they didn’t look. Like when Alma was preaching to the poor and after relating about how to plant the seed, he quoted Zenos, Zenoc and Moses about how Christ was to come because the Zoramite apostates were preaching that there would not be a Christ. So Alma had to touch this topic in Alma 33:19-21 when he is talking about Moses and how “no creyeron que los sanaría” (not believe that it would save them) and v.21. It is something soo small to do - just look to Christ, read the scriptures, pray and go to church. There is no better formula and there is no other formula. In my personal study I was reading Alma 34 and wow it is full of good stuff! It is a chapter worth study!
That’s awesome to hear that Jer.....Elder Fernandez is going on his mission!!! Send him my congratulations.
Yes, that is the song that I was looking for. Thanks a lot! “All ye Fair Ones” you sent when you sent my iPod, but I was only the music. It would be great to have a copy with words and music if that is possible.
Thanks for everything. Paraguay is awesome. I love it here. It is only lacking snow! Haha, JUST KIDDING!!!! The mission, I don’t regret it. It is the most difficult thing I have ever embarked to do but I do not wish for anything else. The Church is true !!!
Love from afar!
Elder Lucas Rodgers

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ant Invasion!

Homemade Egg McMuffins (and root beer)

Bullhorn pictures

June 20, 2011

Hola Familia!

Big news! well, awesome news. It seems like I am following what mom did. My companion knows soooo much about health and fitness and I have been following his counsel and have lost weight. It is noticeable to the people. Elder Walker (my Zone leader in Concepcion) got a special change to Pedro Juan Caballero this week so it is awesome to see him again and one of the first things he told me was that I have lost weight! Wooo, and some people have been commenting about it to me. Some of the shirts that you sent for Christmas, there was a time when I had gained a little more weight because of poor eating and they didn't fit. Now they are normal and fit perfectly. So I am working on that. I am not sure if I mentioned but when I came here I found an LDS missionary exercise book called ¨The LDS Missionary Workout Program¨ that has exercises for every day of your mission and talks to help you do more and more. I wanted to weigh myself before writing this email but I forgot so I will send it next week. I have been getting a lot more done day after day, and feeling great. This week for me just flew by. We have been working really hard and have been finding some cool people.

Last week we were doing our food buying at a store called Maxi and guess what we found - ROOT BEER!!!!! and V8. So I have been drinking V8 after my daily exercises haha, and at night (not the best hour of the day, but the only hour really available, and only 2 days this week) we had root beer floats!!!!!!!!! It was amazing haha then. Also when we were buying food we got good bacon, real cheese, ham, eggs to make EGG McMUFFINS!!! and we had that on Sunday before Church. But the biscuits that we made did not turn out anything like English muffins, but it was okay. We also made the mac and cheese and it made us a little jealous of all the missionaries that live off it haha, just kidding. We are using it sparingly. And more news, I got a call from Elder Halliday this week because he as well had a special change and with his new companion came my SECOND BOOT haha so today we are getting together with some of the elders to play sports and have a snack (root beer floats) and he will bring it for me.

That picture that I sent was a bull horn that was converted into a trumpet thing. You could play it and sound would come out like an old fashioned horn.

The president of the branch called us to a family home evening Sunday night. It was very entertaining. It was a picknick (I totally forgot how to spell that). It was with some of his family who were less active. I shared the story when we were hiking to Lineham Lakes and we had to hook ourselves together so the wind didn't carry us away. They found that very amusing, especially when I said that the fins that I was carrying would once in a while smack me in the face.

Something that me and my companion were talking about is that when we teach people we have to build off their foundation. We have to find their foundation to build off it. Neither can we build their foundation on our land or vice versa. We need to know their needs and teach accordingly.

But thanks for the letter. Like I said I was planning on sending a package but with this strike in Canada, maybe that would not be a wise idea. And sending out letters, things, to Canada, let me know about that.

Thanks for everything!

Love Elder Rodgers

P.S. there is a photo of an ant invasion in our house, nothing big at all but kinda funny.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pumpkin Pie!

Pedro Juan Caballero

June 13, 2011

Hola Familia,
Well, a few notices. I got the package with the boot and the memory card, two blue ties and mac. & cheese. I wrote a letter to Elder Bishop and Robert Godfrey and I sent them with Elder Packard when we had changes and they went to Asuncion, so it should be on its way. So it sounds like you have had a lot of changes in the house! But with Mom knowing house design I know it will turn out great. Good Luck!
Yesterday we had District Conference. President Madariaga came and talked. We had some investigators attending, especially a man named Ramon Ortega. He talked with missionaries a looooooooong long time ago and was praying to ask God if the LDS church was true but never got his answer because he was not reading, or going to church. So we have been focusing on those three things (church, read, pray). There is no other formula to know if it is true or not. He is currently attending an Evangelical church. He has gone to many different churches to find the right one but he says that he has not found it yet. This week we are going to be focusing on visiting him with members. He has had a doubt that the Sabbath day is Saturday and not Sunday. We felt to tell him that if he makes an effort to go to church on Sunday that God, through the spirit or through one of the speakers, would answer his question. Then he made it to the general session of conference (for everyone) and WOW the first talk was almost pure Guarani and he was talking about the día de reposo (day of rest --> Sabbath Day). I felt very grateful that God would answer his prayers and ours too, as we were praying that the conference would touch his heart. When we said bye to him he seemed really happy, his countenance. Then if that wasn't enough I kinda waved over President Madariaga and he shook his hand and told him that were real representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We also found a family that were members, like 10 years ago, (or something like that) and now they are Jehovah's Witnesses. It is really hard to teach people who have hardened their hearts. We bore strong testimony and they threw it off. Then the wife said something that disturbed us. They invited us to listen to the JW missionaries when we finish our missions because they said they found the truth through the LDS Church. I know the church is true. They never had a testimony. I can see how necessary a testimony from the Holy Ghost is. They said things along the lines that they are not 100% sure that their church is true and we told them that we know our church is true and that’s why we are thousands of miles away to bring this message. We need to always be reading, praying (especially to build our testimony), asking if the church is true, and go to church every Sunday.
We had some funny experiences making pumpkin pie. We didn’t make it like Grandma makes it but it will do, for now. But the conclusion is that people from Paraguay HATE pumpkin pie haha. They said that the crust was delicious haha. There was one family that thought that we were kidding when we said it was made of pumpkin and thought it was chocolate. None of them liked it!!!! Leftovers! I will admit it was NOT 5-star so maybe you guys can send us a recipe to make the pumpkin. I don’t think it is turning out 100% right.
Today I finished Predicad Mi Evangelio (Preach my Gospel) in Spanish. :) so that felt good to read. Thanks for everything, family. I love you all soo much. We are entering winter. It is getting a little nippy over here. haha.

Love you all so much. The church is true!
Elder Lucas Rodgers

Monday, June 6, 2011

Baptism of Vincente Benitez Irayales - June 2011

June 6, 2011

THANKS for the awesome letter!!!! How great it is to hear all this!!!

This week for me has been blessing alley!!!!!!!!!! BLESSINGS!!!!!!!! Where do I start? Yesterday we had a baptism of a man named Vicente Benitez Irayales. (I think that is how you spell his last name.) For about two months the missionaries were working with him and he was drinking and smoking every day (was, as in a long time ago). While I was here there was one night when he left with his friends, one of the first times I saw him. He is about 29. He has made such great progress. Then after his baptism we were walking to his house and he passed us on his motor bike with his friend that he was taking home. He was excited. Then I began to worry a little bit if he was drinking to celebrate his baptism. He had really only been out-going when he was drinking. He is a rather timid guy but that shows how bad my faith was. We got to his house and were waiting for him then we began to talk. He was blessed and changed through Christ. He was telling us that he had such a desire to serve everyone now. That was why he was driving his friend home. He started thanking us in Portuguese but I could understand pretty much everything he said. The spirit was so strong there. They invited us to eat today again in their house at noon. Wow, and now his sister is showing interest in listening to us and going to church.
Another thing happened the day before. (Well one thing I didn’t mention is that Elder Anderson, who I lived with in Concepción is now serving in GUESS... Kennedy ha ha, so he has been meeting people I knew when I started my mission.) Saturday he called me and said "There is someone who wants to talk to you" and before I could ask him who, or what was going on, I found myself talking to Gabriela and Victor!!!!! They said that they had had some hard times and it was hard to go to church but that they are going to be going back and Elder Anderson is going to be helping them go to the temple!!!!!!!. Before I go any further Elder Anderson is awesome. Mom, Dad, don’t be surprised if in 2 or 3 years I have the idea to make a trip down to Colorado ha ha. So he is a great missionary (after a long time of lazy missionaries) that will be in Kennedy. While I have been gone there have been some skeptical missionaries serving there.
There is a joven here (joven = youth) who we visited and had a great lesson with. He was a little less active and he came to church – MIRACLE - and told my companion (not flat out, but he was thinking it) that he wants to serve a mission and wants to help his family. When we were sharing with him on Saturday he was asking us a lot about our missions and how were our families. I mentioned most of the blessings that we are receiving, as did my companion. The spirit was strong. Then he mentioned that he really was the only young man that could support his family. He is a strong asset to his family and oh ya, one more detail. He is the only member in his family!
So the blessings of heaven are falling!!
But like I said thanks for the letter, for hearing of all the blessings. I think that the only reasonable response is that the church is true! It just makes you feel sooo good!
This week we have plans to have a dinner with a less active family. We are going to be making pumpkin pie for them, MMMMmmmmm!!!! Exciting! I will write a letter to Alex Cobb. Tell him to expect a letter from Paraguay!
I was reading in Alma, when Alma was teaching in Ammonihah. They rejected his call to repentance and they accused him of being only one man that God called. (Alma 9:2). He left, sad, because he had no success neither baptisms. Then an angel came to him and said go back and bear your afflictions with patience. He goes back and gets his new companion, Amulek. Then they go back "two by two" (D&C 42:6) to preach. The city is astonished that there are two missionaries, ha ha. They preach that if they do not repent God will destroy the city but of course they don´t believe them, which makes the scripture Alma 16:9-10 just that much better and also the scripture Alma 3:26-27.
I love the Book of Mormon. I know it is true. We need to read it day after day. I know I wasn’t too excited to do that before the mission but now I kinda understand why ha ha. But thanks for everything.

Élder Lucas Rodgers