Monday, September 26, 2011

September 26, 2011

Hola Familia!
Well, Elder Hill goes home on Thursday and on Wednesday I get my new companion. I will know who that is tonight. I am really hoping that it will be one of my older companions. I hope so. There are 30 new missionaries coming (1 from Canada - Elder Bennett, I think, and I heard that he could be from Cardston) and 19 going home. 11 of those missionaries leaving are zone leaders and so 11 new zone leaders have to rise. That gives me a chance to be with Elder Anderson, Elder Meneses or Elder Salvatierra. There are many more but it would be awesome.

We had an interesting week. We are having a HARD time finding new investigators. I don't really know what is going on. It has been bugging me, and it is not only us, our whole zone. We have an awesome reference from a member family of a husband and wife that want to go to church and be baptized and get married. I would be SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy if that came through. The husband right now is in Boston, haha, so we will be waiting for him to come back, which makes me remember that there is a recent convert family in our area. A lady that is from Wisconsin. I told her that I think I have family there, but I am not sure? I don’t want to be one of those people who is like, "You’re from Canada. Do you know this person?" But it would be interesting. Also is there an Elder Laycock (I believe that is how you spell it) that served in Uruguay about 4-5 years ago? Because if you know him, I have met his missionary trainer here in Palma Loma.
Mark Johnson---I was in Laurelty this week. I didn't find anyone like Antonia & Juan or Jesus & Petrona. If you had their last name that would be great! I will do another division there. Also yes, you can send me a letter to send to Zaballos Cue. I could forward it to the missionaries in that area.
I also found out that Elder Alverez, my old companion, started (I believe) in this area, so that is cool.

Yesterday we were invited over to the Stake President’s house in the morning before church and we ate pancakes with peanut butter and syurp!!!!! It was AMAZING!!!!!!
Mom, I bought a purse for you, a leather one, a lot smaller than the last one. I don’t have a picture of it. We went to Luque, (the down town part). There was a small expo there and I also bought a beautiful big white hammock and a wallet for dad. I got some nice earrings for Mom, Lauren and Ragan.
Thanks for everything. Keep me updated on all those questions. Thanks for everything. I love you all.
Love, Elder Rodgers

Monday, September 19, 2011

Luke and Elder Hill, from Arizona - Baptism of Nayeli

September 19, 2011

Hola Familia,
We are doing good out here. We are working hard and looking for the success. We had a baptism this last week of a 10 year old girl, Nayeli (Nay-jely). Her parents would have been baptized too but they need a divorce first so that’s a hard spot. We started making the cake Friday night and put it in the oven, then got ready for bed and went to sleep and FORGOT about it!!!!!!!!! We woke up to a slab of charcoal, haha, so early in the morning we left to a supermercado called “España Supermarket” but it was still closed so we walked a little further to one called “Los Jardines” and bought a new cake, went home, got all our stuff, and went to the church to cook it because the baptism was at 10 AM.
Luque is pronounced (Loo-k) or (Luke-eh). It is a más o menos (more or less) rich place. I really like it. There are some great members that are willing to work and help us. We have been working a lot with the members. It will be so much more effective with them than without. I am so grateful for this chance to be a missionary. We had to give talks on Sunday and I was talking about living what you believe. There was one part where I really felt I said what the spirit wanted me to say and it was really special for me to feel that and be the means for transmitting this message.
There was something that happened yesterday that really got to me. We were looking for the family Isfran (E´s-fran) and we found the mom. It was starting to rain a little but we got to the house and pushed the buzzer. The mom opened the upstairs window and told us ¨Elders, we have our church now. I have been received as a pastor there.¨ (the mom said that....) It was so sad to hear that they wanted to leave the church. How could someone taste the fruit that is ¨most sweet¨ then throw it to the side? The thing that got to me is that if they do not come back as a family they will not be able to be with their family in a state of never ending happiness. That really hit me.
Saturday night it was raining all day long and we had been working in the street. We got home, drenched. I will admit I was a little discouraged. NO ONE LET US IN and it was raining out. We had clapped many doors, including less active members to teach and NO ONE. So I decided and thought to myself ¨I will not go through this if we do not find a miracle¨, so I told my companion that I wanted to say a prayer and find a family that would receive us. Then we walked, clapped, walked, and clapped. Then all of a sudden we passed a house where we had received a reference of some youth. We pushed the buzzer and a youth (Fernando) came out to greet us. He let us in and we gave a good lesson. He accepted a book of Mormon and the invitation to be baptized (ALL our new investigators have to accept this invitation to be called a new investigator). He accepted and said that he will start reading to see if it is true, then his Mom/sister came out and told him to come inside. I felt that this was an answer to our prayers. We are excited to go visit him again. I feel that he will progress.
There are some quotes that we have been using as of lately ¨Work harder than Heck!¨ and “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” - Leonardo DaVinci. And the quote that I quoted in my talk ¨Preach the gospel in every moment, and if necessary, use Words¨ - Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
Thank you for everything, Mom and Dad, and everyone. The church is true!!
Con amor y cariño, (love and affection)
Elder Lucas Rodgers

Monday, September 12, 2011

More families

Families in Pedro Juan Caballero, September 6, 2011

Luke and companion, Elder Vasquez, in Pedro Juan Caballero

Luke's 21st birthday - Sept. 6, 2011 - The cake and icing mixes, and assorted toppings, were sent in the mail.

September 12, 2011

Hola Familia!
Well big news.... I got a change. I am now in a Ward!!!! in a Stake!!!!! I have a Ward Mission Leader!!!!! It is exciting to me! Haha. The Area is called Palma Loma. It is a neighborhood in a city called Luque, very close to Asuncion. I was told about this change Monday night, so my last day in PJC was my birthday, but that's okay. I have been called to be a Zone Leader with Elder Hill from Arizona. He goes home at the end of this month. So I am excited and we are going to work our butts off!!! It was a little hard saying bye to everyone in Pedro Jean Caballero, especially Ramon and his family. I have grown to love that family. They are a family which is so special to me and it was hard to say bye to them and it was hard to say bye to my old companion, Elder Vasquez (he is such a great missionary), and so many other people that I can’t mention all their names here. I know the Lord called me here and I know we will work. I am excited to be here. We have a couple of baptisms planned. There is a man here whose name is Ramon too, haha. He is kinda different haha but he read the Book of Mormon in 2 days!!!!!! all of it, but he hasn't been to church yet. He is scared of commitment but we will help him. My companion is a great missionary. I am learning soo much! We have had little success here finding new investigators but we are going to be implicating lots of work with the members to get their help because we cannot do this on our own.
Let Mark Johnson know about my change and tell him that Laurelty is in my zone. I possibly could do a division in that area because we have to do divisions in the areas of the District leaders. I do not know exactly when but let him know.

I have been continuing reading the book of Mormon and am coming to 3 Nephi where He is teaching the Sermon on the Mount. It is interesting what He says to them. In two-three chapters He gives a teaching on almost every gospel topic. It is interesting.

I really love Paraguay and I love the people. I have come to feel a great love for them even when they are rude, haha. There are some of the humblest people that live here and they have taught me soo much. I am so thankful for them. I have been thinking about asking permission later on to visit some of my old areas in the coming months on some P-days to see how my old converts are doing. There are so many people here that are very dear to me. I send my love to everyone, knowing the Church is true! I pray for you all! Love Elder Lucas Rodgers

P.S. Thanks for everything Mom and Dad. I really love you guys so much! You do so much for me and I can feel your love from far away. I pray for you two daily.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Baptism of Ana Paula - Sept 3, 2011

September 5, 2011

Well, family, it is good to hear from you all.
We had another baptism this Saturday, a young woman named Ana Paula who we were teaching. Her mom all of a sudden came over and talked to us. We were sharing with her when all of a sudden she said, "I have a confession to make...I am a member of the church!" So we had no idea, neither did Ana Paula. But her mom said that she was baptized about 15 years ago! The mom came to the baptism of her daughter and after the ordinance they were in the women's bathroom changing and my companion was changing in the men's bathroom. He told me after that he heard them crying, and exiting the bathroom he saw that they had been. The Lord has touched this family! Almost the same thing happened when Ramon was baptized. He was talking with my companion in the bathroom and I don't know why buy I had an impression to get up and go to the bathroom. They were talking and when I got there he said, "I wanted to thank you guys for bringing me to this point." He gave us both a hug and said that from now on it won't be easy. Yesterday after church he invited us over to eat. There was a girl from Concepción that is staying there, renting a room. He always calls her his daughter (the girl in the picture of his baptism in the middle in pink) and she goes to an evangelical church and was asking us a lot of questions. There came a point when Ramon started testifying to her how the Book of Mormón is not "another gospel". The spirit was strong and told me to BE QUIET and let him talk. After that the girl didn't say a word.
Something interesting that I have noticed here - we always bring up that the families can be together forever and there are usually one of two responses: 1) the people that say, “obviously, of course” and 2) the people that say, “no that is impossible. It does not say that in the Bible.” Sometimes it makes me think, how could you not even want that to be true. Maybe the people that have a harder time believing that are the people that maybe don't have the best relationship with their family. "We thank thee oh God for a prophet".
Well, Dad, get ready. They had to release you so that they can call you into the stake! Watch out haha!
I love you all so much. I know the church is true. The Lord answers our prayers and knows us. The Lord knows every one of us even though sometimes we think our existence is so insignificant. He knows us. I know he does. The Lord prepares our path and we must confide in him. Thanks you for your examples in my life. I always tell the couples here that the example is the best lesson. There was a general authority that said, "Share the gospel every day, and if it is necessary use words." God lives and so does his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus truly is the Christ.
I love you all dearly, and pray that you have all the blessings that our Heavenly Father has for you all.
Con amor,
Elder Lucas Rodgers