Tuesday, December 29, 2015

december 28, 2015 letter

Dear Family:
It was an awesome week this week! We were able to teach a lot of people, and we feel that we have found people that could be ready for baptism. But first off, it was fun to go to Forest Grove for one of the Christmas concerts. You could feel the spirit really strong there and while I was up there in the choir singing, I made eye contact with T! Do you remember him? He was that young 14 year old boy that I baptized when we first got into Forest Grove. Haha right after the concert he came right up and we were able to talk for a little bit. It is awesome to see converts of the church that are still going strong in the gospel. He was talking about how well he was doing and how he had been ordained as a teacher. We talked about a mission, but he said that he didn't know if he was going to go, because he had gotten accepted into some group that is ridiculously hard to get into and he doesn't know if his parents would let him get out of it. He said he wanted to do it for a few years and then leave on a mission. He and his sister would both be awesome missionaries. But it was nice to talk to him and some of the old ward members there in Forest Grove. Sadly some of our other investigators weren't able to come. But during lunch just before the concert, I was able to meet an 18 or 19 year old young Hispanic man who had just been baptized a month or so ago. We hit it off really fast and ended up talking for about 20 minutes. I bore my testimony in the end about going on a mission and you could see the wheels in his head turning and the spirit testifying that it was something he needed to do. He had such a light about him and thanked me for bearing my testimony about going on a mission, so I gave him my mission email and home email and told him to write me when he found out where he was going to go on his mission, and he had promised to do it. 

The next day on Tuesday, we went to Salem for the other concert. After the concert we went on exchanges with the missionaries in Lebanon, Elder Heywood and Elder Floisand. I stayed down there in Lebanon with elder Heywood while Elder Floisand came up here with Elder Joly. It was soo much fun to be with Elder Heywood.. He is just a stud and was a 4A state champion wrestler!  We decided that we were going to be really good friends after the mission(: But we saw so many miracles during that exchange!  It had been a while since I had been able to go on an exchange and it was a lot of fun to be able to go out there and work the entire day on just missionary work! We  invited someone to be baptized and they said yes, and then we had found like 3 or 4 new investigators. We were walking past a house, and I had gotten the impression to knock it, but for some reason i ignored it for a minute or so, and then turned to Elder Heywood and was like, we need to go back! haha It ended up being a family that just moved in like 4 months ago and would love to hear about the Book of Mormon. It was awesome. I had missed doing things like that!  I feel like I had gotten in a rut and just needed to be shaken a little bit! 

On Christmas eve, I got a phone call from a guy on my phone and it ended up being a 14 year old boy who had been taught by missionaries before and wanted to go to the store with us!  It was kind of weird, but we wanted to meet him, so we accepted! haha We walked around on Christmas Eve through Fred Meyers buying Christmas presents for his mom. Hopefully we will be able to start teaching him and his family. He was very mature for his age. 

Christmas day was a lot of fun because I got to open Christmas presents super early in the morning with all of the elders in Newberg, and then dress up in Santa suits. And then I definitely loved talking to all of you. It was nice to see everyone's faces and hear your voices. When you had called, it left a little bubble on the screen of my phone, and I still haven't erased it, so it looks like you called me every time i look at my phone now (; and i also saved the voicemail!  It was also great to see the kids, and meet little McCoy. He is so tiny!  

On Saturday, We had an awesome lesson with a less active member, and we became really good friends. He is 20 years old and had hit rock bottom and wanted to change. We had such a powerful lesson with him and the YSA elders and he came to church for the first time in like 9 or 10 years! One of our most progressing investigators is married to a member, and we went over to teach her because she is less active, but when we went there, it ended up just turning to him. It was such a powerful lesson and as we talked to him, we realized that he didn't even know if God existed, so the other member we brought with us testified to him that God lives, and that he can gain an answer if he prays to Heavenly Father and asks him. It was so powerful. He used to not even want to listen, but this time he asked us to come over like 2 days later, which is today. We are going to have a lesson with 3 people today even though it is our Pday and I'm super excited for them. I actually have one in like 14 minutes, so I have to go! 

I love you so much and i'm grateful for the opportunity to do missionary work. It is my favorite thing in the world. I know that my Savior lives and that He loves me and all those we meet. I know this church is true and that we have a living prophet that leads and guides it. I know this not through reasoning, but through the Holy Ghost. 
I love you all! 
Love, Elder Romney.

Friday, December 25, 2015

december 25, 2015 Christmas Call

Our Christmas call with Elder Romney was fantastic! It was so good to see his face and hear his voice. He is loving serving the Lord and bore his testimony in Spanish for us. The spirit was very strong while talking to him! We love and miss him so much.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

december 21, 2015 letter

Dear Family:
This week was pretty crazy because we had transfers! I had driven and driven and driven some more! haha We had the transfer meeting on Monday and then on Tuesday we had to wake up at 4am and take the returning missionaries to their flight that left around 7 am. We then went into a parking lot of a hotel and parked there and tried to get some sleep, while waiting for the new missionaries to arrive. It's hard for me to sleep when there is so much going on, but I was able to sleep for a little while. 

After that we drove to the temple and showed the new missionaries around the temple. While I was there, I actually saw someone that I played baseball with! His name is Chase Merrill. I think that is how you spell his last name... but apparently he just got to Portland on his mission a couple of weeks ago and it was his day to go to the temple! I was talking with Sister Samuelian and some of the sister missionaries at the temple when I saw him walk by the visitors center and I told them that I just saw someone from home and I would be right back. I walked after him and we kind of looked at each other a little funny, and we were like, "Hey I know you!" haha He is awesome and it was good to see him. I asked him who of everyone in his class had left on a mission and he said that there were actually a lot of people who decided not to go on a mission, which makes me kind of sad, but maybe they are waiting a little bit! It was a fun surprise to see him. 

Then we drove out to the rock and spent some time there, and then came home. haha Every single person had fallen asleep in the car, even my companion! haha. So I was just driving a 12 passenger white van in the pouring rain at night! haha I thought it was kind of fun though. As I was driving I had a really cool experience. Do you remember the girl I took to prom my junior year? Mavanee Mcquivy? she had sent me a pretty cool email this last week about us being like apostles, but with a little "a". As I was driving around I realized what an amazing privilege it was to be driving around servants of the Lord! I was little driving little apostles around Oregon and it made me really happy to be a part of something so great!

I had been struggling for the past little while with having time to actually do missionary work, but there were 2 significant things that happened this week that really changed it around for me and made me feel a lot better. The first was when I went to president's house and he told us what a great job we were doing as assistants, but felt that he wanted us to get out and work as missionaries more. That was awesome! So we are going to be doing less office duties and have more time to go out and work, and I'm so happy about that.  The second thing that I learned with Elder Joly this week was about testifying with our whole heart to each person we meet. We had come to the realization that at times we would bear our testimonies on the street, and yes they were truths that we knew and things that we had a testimony of, but at times it didn't always come from our heart. It's funny, as we have talked to other missionaries about this, they say that it is hard to do that, to put your whole heart out on the line and have a chance for it to be hurt. So I think missionaries all over the world don't always bear testimony with their whole heart until they either know the person, or it is a super spiritual experience. So this past week, we had a couple days that we could work in our area, and we made a commitment to bare sincere, straight from our heart testimonies to every single person we met. member, not member, no matter who it was. I can't even tell you the difference that made. We were having a hard time finding new investigators, but this week we were able to find 8 new investigators, just from changing our approach. We no longer are trying to just connect with the person, we are trying to connect with their Light of Christ. I think I had come to that realization at different points in my mission, but never to this extent. We literally are just trying to connect to the Light of Christ that each person has, as it says in Preach my Gospel! It's funny how the Lord waits until you're almost done with your mission to teach you the important things (; What president has done in the past is that he doesn't have the assistants serve as an assistant all the way until the end of their mission. Each one he has either sent back into the field their last 1 or 2 transfers, or has asked them to train during those last transfers. He does that so we go home on a spiritual high note, I guess you could say. Our mission president really does care about us. So I think that this will be my last transfer with elder Joly, and then I think I will be moved to an English ward for 2 transfers and then be released my last transfer and go and train someone. None of this is set in stone at all, but it's just the feeling that I've had about what may happen. We have a new missionary coming in in May, which would be my last transfer, that is straight from Mexico, and I would love to train him. Things are starting to look up, and like I will be able to do some real work in my area (: and I think I will be out in the field again my last transfer which would be awesome!

I love you all so much! Love, Elder Romney (:

Oh and please tell Em and Sara that I am so sorry I can't email them today. I have to leave in like 3 minutes to go up to Forest Grove for the Christmas concert.  I love you all and I will see you at noon my time, 1 your time on Christmas! 
I love you! And tell Sara congratulations!! (:

My district!! 

The one laying down in front is my district leader.

I saw A at transfer meeting and Hermana Hedges went home.  You will have to let me know if she contacted you!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

december 14, 2015 letter

Elder Romney has been very busy as an AP and was preparing transfers this coming week. Because of this, he just sent a short message saying he was doing well but didn't have time to write. He's keeping busy and loving it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

december 7, 2015 letter

Dear Family:
Well, this week was a very tiring week! There were quite a few days that we had to spend all day in the mission office trying to figure out some things about transportation and sending out long emails and such. There were a couple times where, at the end of the day, my head hurt so bad from trying to figure things out! We had stayed up until 12:30 one of the nights, to send out information and and try to figures some things out and then get ready for MLC. 

MLC was super cool this month. We got to invite all of the district leaders to come, so it was basically all of the leadership at one meeting! We talked a lot about vision and when we don't have vision, then the people perish, and we talked about exchanges and how those can change peoples lives. I would say that is one of the biggest things to help struggling missionaries, is to go on an exchange with them and go to their area and help look at things differently. 

There was an Elder who called me on Wednesday and told me that he wanted to talk to me. He is someone with whom I have worked before, and helped him get through some pretty hard times.  We sat there on the phone and talked with  him for about an hour trying to help him understand what he needed to do. I love this elder and its hard to see him struggling so much, but hopefully the things that we asked him to do will help a lot. 

It's been hard to write lately, because all of the days have just seemed to mesh together and i can't even remember anything anymore! But this week we set up all of the exchanges that we are going to go on with all of the zone leaders, of all 9 zones. We sat down and pulled out a calendar and it was weird to see everything planned out all the way until February. We are filled with meetings and dropping off missionaries at the airport and picking them up and doing training's and a whole lot of things, and then we have to fit in all of the exchanges. We made it a goal to go on an exchange with each companionship once a transfer, and that is going to be quite the task since we also have to hold meetings and man the office, so we will see how this goes(; 

Its been amazing to see all of the changes that the people in the mission have made, and last month we baptized the most that we have all year! haha I was talking to Daniel Jensen, and he said that they baptize that many in a week... hahaha but its kind of funny (: With the new change of how long English missionaries stay in the MTC from 2 weeks to 3 weeks, my return date will be moved back a week two, so that means that i will get to stay for another week out here!   I've realized that I am going to miss the mission a ton. Tonight we are having 4 missionaries come from the Bend and Redmond areas and stay with us, So it is going to get crazy in the apartment here pretty soon (: 

Sorry for all of the mixed thoughts today.  It's been hard to keep all my thoughts together, let alone write them down! I should probably get better at writing in my journal so i can remember things (: But I love you all, and ps thanks for John Bytheway cds! They have been awesome and I love them to death. 
Love, Elder Romney (:

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

november 30, 2015 letter

 Dear Family:
It was fun to have thanksgiving out here on the mission! We had 3 different families and taught non members in two of the three. All of the food was super good, and we got stuffed really fast. 

This week we were actually able to teach some of our investigators and it was so much fun. Not being able to have as much time to work with our investigators makes us want to work with them even more. We whitewashed into the area, so we didn't really have any investigators when we came in, but we have been able to find some new ones and have felt the spirit incredibly strong with them. We feel that there are some of them who could be baptized in December and some that could be baptized in January. We are hoping that we can pull down the powers of Heaven and help them to come unto Christ. We have met a couple of girls who just have the light of Christ radiating from them. We are teaching Ashley and Mari who are awesome and have both showed an interest in coming to church. 

The best part of the week was at the end when we taught this family. They invited us to come in  the evening, and we could tell the dad was prepared, but we for the life of us couldn't feel what we should teach. When he had gotten up to get water, Elder Joly and I turned to each other and asked, "what should we teach??"  We finally felt that we needed to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon with him and ask him to read from it. As we began to read from it, he told us that he had read from a lot of it already and knew and felt that it was true, and that he knew that Jospeh Smith was a prophet. We asked him to be baptized, and he said that he would eventually be baptized with his family. They are a family of 5, and we are excited to keep teaching them! 

It was also a lot of fun to help president put up his tree that was super super massive! Things are going really well here and we are excited to see the progression of the mission! 
I love you!
Love, Elder Romney (:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

november 23, 2015 letter

Dear Family:
So this has been quite the adventurous week! This week mainly consisted of Zone Conferences. Zone Conferences is when several zones get together and the president and his wife and Elder Joly and I are able to teach them and to role play with them certain aspects of missionary work we feel the Lord wants us to work on. In these zone conferences we focused on the Sabbath day, service, pulling down the powers of heaven through faith and prayer and such, talking to everyone, and making a plan for those who are on date to be baptized to help them reach their goal. The one that I specifically taught was about making a plan for our investigators when they have set a firm baptismal date. There is a lot of good doctrine taught on it in chapter 12 of Preach My Gospel. But before I talked about that, I actually read them part of a letter that mom had sent me - this is what i read to them:

"We went to church, and the topic for the week was ministering to others, and one of the speakers used the scripture I had sent to you a week or two ago about "if you've done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, you've done it unto me", and I thought, "how interesting that I'm hearing this exact scripture again."  I have learned that one of the ways Heavenly Father seems to teach me is through repetition. 
I was sitting there in church with the Pisters, who were literal strangers to me not long ago.  The one and only connection I had with them was that they were kind to my son.  They didn't do anything miraculous, like save your life or pay for your mission or anything, but they welcomed you into their home, they fed you, they helped you, and they took care of you when I couldn't.  And because of that, I loved them before I ever met them, and they are welcome here. I will give them a place to stay, feed them, give them a place to have a party, pack lunches for them. Really, I would do anything for them, and why? Why do I have so much love in my heart for them? Not because I owe them, or want something from them, but plain and simply because they were kind to my son. So, if you change the scripture slightly to say "children" instead of "brethren", it takes on a whole new meaning for me. "If you've done it unto one of the least of these, my children, you've done it unto me". "Children" is just so much more personal and emotional to me, I guess. And it's been that way with all of you.  In fact, I'd much rather have someone hurt me than hurt my child. I've always said that the one sure way into my heart is to be kind to my children, and if I, an imperfect human being, love my children that much, how much more must it hold true for our Heavenly Father? I love you with my whole heart, but that doesn't begin to hold a candle to the love our Father has for us. And if the Pisters, or anyone else, can inspire such gratitude from me just through their kindness to my child, wouldn't Heavenly Father feel the same way? So, truly, how we treat our Father's children is how He will feel we are treating Him."

I felt that it went along well with what president taught on service and that we need to help our fellow brethren in any way we can. Every one seemed to really enjoy it, and Sister Samuelian later told me that my mom is such a good writer. Speaking of which, apparently you had sent them a poem about tithing? She has had that on her fireplace mantel since you sent it to her, and I remember her telling me about that months and months ago, but it never really clicked in my head that I should mention it to you. But I looked the last time I was in their home, and sure enough there it was! 

I would have to say that more than teaching at zone conference my favorite thing was riding up to zone conference. One of the drives is about 3 hours and we didn't want to take another car with us, so we got to be with President and Sister Samuelian for 3 hours.  We had the opportunity to just talk to them and learn more about them and ask them all kinds of doctrinal questions we had about the church. It was definitely one of the highlights of my mission. I wish every misisonary could experience that, being able to be with their president for such an extended period of time. It just made him so much more real and lovable and I realized just how funny he is. They actually really remind me of mom and dad. A lot of the same personality traits and everything. But we spent a lot of time with them and my love for them has grown even more!

We had some amazing spiritual lessons this week, as we actually found some time to teach people. Each lesson was so personalized just for them, and even though many times we didn't even have time to prepare very much for the lesson, the Lord helped guided us through. There was one lesson with a less-active lady who didn't want to come back to church because she didn't like one of the leaders, specifically the branch president, and wouldn't come back because of that. But as we taught her, the spirit testified that, that was just an excuse to allow herself to feel okay about not going to church. We read with her The Family a Proclamation to the World and explained how she needed to help raise her kids with a belief in Jesus Christ and be that example to them. You could see the inspiration just churning in her head, and she realized what she was doing was wrong. We then taught her about the atonement and that no matter what she had done, she could come back to the open arms of the Savior. We gave her a blessing at the end and she began to weep. It was an amazing experience. We were also able to give a blessing to another less-active lady with back problems and see her start to feel better soon after.

I've had some really amazing personal revelation lately, that kind of ties everything together in my life and in my mission. There are probably some things I will share when I get home about exactly why I am here and how the atonement saved my life.
I love you all and I testify that the atonement is real and that the priesthood power truly has been restored.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
 Elder Romney.

A party at the Spanish branch

There is Mom's poem in the mission home
Elder Romney and Elder Joly at Zone Conference
Doing a skit demonstration on how to properly back up a car

Teaching in zone conference

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

november 16, 2015 letter

 Dear Family:
I definitely don't have enough time to write everything that I would like to about all that happened this week, because this week was by far the busiest week of my mission! The first couple of days we weren't even able to proselytize in our area because we were so busy, but later on we were able to get out a little bit more and find some people to teach, so that was good. I wish I could write all of the events that happened this week, but there was just too much going on!  We were in a meeting with president and then in another with the office staff for several hours today and it took up most of our day and I still had to get a haircut and other Pday things, too! 

This week it was so so much fun to get to know all of the missionaries. We were in charge of picking up and dropping off all of the missionaries that were coming and going.  The only really stressful part that I have had so far being an AP was having to keep up with president while I was following three other cars and a van and then GPS didn't even give right directions, so it was a little hectic. I actually really enjoy the fast pace here and the hard tasks that are placed before me, but just like dad, sometimes i get a little ancy on the road! But it was pretty exciting! Transfer week is ridiculously busy and it's a lot of fun. On Thursday we had to help all of the missionaries get their new companions and then we had to drive some around the state to get them to their areas. We had to take one to Salem and when we got there ,the car that they had, had a flat tire, so we had to help them fix that, only to find out that the car was dead. And then some really awesome Relief Society ladies gave us some food to eat and so we sang for them (: 

Right now I live in a three floor apartment with 6 other elders, so 8 in total. 4 of them are only staying here right now because they are waiting for their apartments to open, so it is pretty crowded, but a lot of fun! This month will be really busy... we have Zone Conferences which are different then ZTM because it's with several combined zones in Bend, Forest Grove, and in Lebanon that we have to go to and help teach. Then we have Thanksgiving, and then interviews and then MLC and then we have the Christmas Concerts which are in three different places again, and interviews with president again and then we have Christmas! So this next month is going to be really busy and I'm super excited! 

I am also excited to keep helping this branch turn into a ward. There are a ton more Hispanics here then there were in Lebanon and they are so ready for the gospel; we just need to find them. This week for zone conference we will be teaching about opening our mouths to everyone, Sabbath day observance, drawing on the powers of heaven, service, and working through members to find people to teach. I will specifically be talking about working with members, so that will be fun, and then I will help the missionaries role play what it's like to invite members to do things like invite their friends to church. 

I testify that this church is true, and it continues to bring me the most peace in my life. I love this work, and I love to see others grow and see their testimonies be strengthened! 
Elder Romney (:

The elders whose tire popped! The new elder is off to the right (:

Awesome exchange with one of the elders in my apt.

These are the 8 elders that live in our apt.

An investigator didn't show up at the church. Sad day 😢

Last day in Lebanon (PS I gave him that shirt. Feeling super special right now.)
Our district

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

november 9, 2015 letter

Dear Family:
So this was a very eventful week! This week has been a really tough one. I haven't been feeling very well or eating very well this past week or so, and with no sunlight for the past 3 weeks, it was kind of getting to me! It had gotten to the point, that when I was on an exchange with one of the elders, I was actually feeling a little down. In the end, I love those moments because they bring me to my knees in more humble and sincere supplication to my Heavenly Father. It has been tough because we haven't seen much success so far in this little branch and only 8 people in the entire branch came on Sunday, so I had just been getting down on myself. On the exchange, there was almost nothing to do in the area, and I had to take over because the other Elder was brand new. So we walked in the pouring rain for four hours, and the shoes I was wearing had  a hole in them and they were soaked. haha As much of a pitty party it sounds like, I was grateful for it (: haha. We actually saw a lot of success with people who are less active. We were able to go in and share a message with them and invite them to church. Of the three that committed, one actually came. 

I got the call while I was on the exchange that I would be going to the Newburg Spanish Branch as an AP with Elder Joly. We will be the first completely Spanish-speaking AP companionship and we will be white-washing into the Spanish branch in Newburg. It's technically called the Dayton Spanish branch. They got approval a while ago to become a ward, so we are going help them do that!  This will with the 3rd time that I have white-washed an area, and now I am doing it being an AP, so that will be an even greater weight on my shoulders!  But I love it, and I'm grateful for this opportunity.  I think you know who Elder Joly is, he came in a transfer after me and was trained by Elder Ashcraft too. I was with Elder Solano and Elder Ashcraft left me to go train Elder Joly, so when they had to do zone leader stuff, they would send Elder Joly and me out knocking doors. So it was the two of us, only being out just a few months, trying to knock doors. He is from Alta and is a ballroom dancer there. He is a lot of fun to be around, and is a very positive person. I am excited to be with him. 

At this time, i feel more than ever, the need and desire to consecrate myself, and lean on my Heavenly Father. I know He has great plans for me, and through obedience and faith I can find what those plans are. I would appreciate lots of prayers, and any ideas to help in dealing with not having much sunlight.

Thanks for all that you do for me. I am reading in 3 Nephi right now, and more and more i can see the relevance and application that the Book of Mormon has to us today. I am grateful for those inspired writings to lead and guide us in these, the last days. Please keep me in your prayers that we will be able to find people to teach and help this branch become a ward. Also, that I can become a true disciple of Jesus Christ, not only with my actions, but with my heart. 
I love you all! 
Love, Elder Romney (:

Family Home Evening is always enjoyable

Family Home Evening is always enjoyable

At the trailer park where we've been teaching
Thankfully, Brian's jacket works great in the rain :)

100% Oregon humidity!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

november 2, 2015 letter

 Dear family:
So this week was a week full of meetings and not very many appointments. It was a little disheartening, but it was a week learning how to grow! We faced quite a few bumps throughout the week in the zone. So we spent a lot of time worrying about how we can support the zone and what we can do to help our missionaries.
We also went on two exchanges, one with the AP's and one with Elder Heywood and Elder Halaeuah. The exchange was really awesome with Elder Heywood. I've come to really enjoy being in his company and feeling his drive and desire for the work. You can tell that he will make an impact on those he meets. We were able to talk to quite a few people and enter into a couple of their homes and testify of the atonement to them.
One of the meetings this week is called ZLC (zone leadership council), and it was a really spiritual experience. It is a meeting with all of the leadership in our zone being the stl's and the district leaders. I was able to share two messages during the meeting. The first one was in Helaman 9: 2 "Behold, now we will know of a surety whether this man be a prophet and God hath commanded him to prophesy such marvelous things unto us. Behold, we do not believe that he hath; yea, we do not believe that he is a prophet; nevertheless, if this thing which he has said concerning the chief judge be true, that he be dead, then will we believe that the other words which he has spoken are true."
And this is the commentary that I had written in my notebook during my studies earlier this week:
"We do that so often with our faith... "Oh, if this be true, I'll know of a surety". Reading this, being a third party, looking at it from the outside, we think, holy cow stupid, of course he is a prophet! I'm sure the angels, who are our third party are saying, holy cow stupid, of course he is preparing people for you to baptize. But we keep looking for a sign, basing our faith off of something physical. How much more blessed we would be if we didn't need a sign for our faith. Just like when Christ appeared as a resurrected being and one of the apostles touched his side, and said, now I know of a surety that thou art the Christ, and Christ said to him, more blessed is he that receiveth by the spirit."
The other message I gave was from a talk I had read earlier this week, from the 2011 October general conference about teaching after the manner of the spirit.
"Many years ago I was with my companion at the missionary training center when I heard the voice of a child say, “Grandma, are those real missionaries?” I turned to see a young girl holding her grandmother’s hand and pointing at me and my companion. I smiled, extended my hand, looked her square in the eye, and said, “Hello, I am Elder Richardson, and we are real missionaries.” Her face beamed as she looked at me, thrilled that she was in the company of genuine missionaries.
      I walked away from that experience with renewed dedication. I wanted to be the type of missionary that the Savior, my family, and this young girl expected me to be. For the next two years, I worked hard to look like, think like, act like, and especially to teach like a real missionary.
      Upon my return home, it became increasingly apparent that even though I had left my mission, my mission didn’t leave me. In fact, even after all these years, I still feel that my mission was the best two years for my life. One unexpected carryover from my mission was that young girl’s voice. Only now I was hearing in my mind, “Grandma, is that a real priesthood holder?” “Grandma, is that a real husband or a real father?” or “Grandma, is that a real member of the Church?”
I want nothing more than to be a real missionary and to serve the Lord and one day become a real father and a real husband. We could all feel the Spirit so strong in the room and we all asked ourselves, are we real missionaries? And so I extend the question to all of you, are you a real Latter-Day Saint?
I was able to pass the sacrament this week, since we always have to either bless or pass each week, and being able to extend my arm and help someone partake of the emblems of the atonement filled my heart, and it gave me a renewed desire to serve Him. It was a tough week with all of our investigators, but through all of His little tender mercies, I can feel the hand of God in my life. 
One particular one was on Sunday morning. We went to all of our investigators houses to invite them to church and not a single one answered. We were treading in mud in our suits and it was wet and cold and frustrating. I wanted nothing more than to just go back to the apartment and do our studies and go to church, but we felt a distinct impression to go and find someone to talk to before church started. We stopped and prayed that we could at least find someone to bring with us. Just then we found a group of four men walking on the street and we went to go talk to them. Two of them obviously wanted nothing to do with us and when we tried to stop and talk to them, they just kept walking, but there were two of the guys who actually seemed interested and we got their contact information. It was a literal separating of the wheat from the chafe, the open hearted from the spiritually deaf, the sheep from the goats. God still does show miracles. The angels around us were probably saying, come on, are you stupid? Of course He is preparing people for you!
This week I come with a broken heart and a willingness to follow my Savior to the ends of........well, my 'area'  haha. I love you all and I testify that we can be real Latter Day Saints and that miracles truly do happen, we just have to have faith! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I love you all!
Elder Romney (:

One more picture of last week's pumpkin zone activity

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

october 26, 2015 letter

Dear Family:
So, this week was a pretty fun week! We were tracting in a trailer park this week that we call "the gold mine", since that is like the only place in our area that has a bunch of Hispanics. While we were tracting there one night, the owner ran up to us and started yelling at us saying that he didn't want us there, so we left. But we have like 5 sets of investigators there and had an appointment with one of them the next day. We left to go to the appointment, and as we were walking to the house, we saw the manager driving in again and immediately just ditched our car and began to walk straight to the entrance of the park, and then we started running because we didn't want another confrontation with him again. We were right next to a highway, so we had to walk on the side of the busy road to the light that was just ahead. While we were there at the light, we saw the manager in his truck driving towards us, so we played it cool and just kept looking forward.  We decided that whatever way he was going to go, that we would go the other way and cross the street. So, when he turned left, we decided to go straight instead and keep walking. He turned around and kept following us, but we got away and had some other Elders come pick us up. The sad thing is is that we have almost all of our investigators there, so we have to keep going back! Now, whenever we go there, we have to sneak around the place (;

My favorite part of the entire week was when our zone went to go sing at an old folks home. it was so much fun. We got there a little early and were able to go walk around and talk to the people that were there. They could barely hear us when we were talking to them, so I can guarantee they couldn't understand the words of the hymns we were singing, but you could feel the spirit there so strong. I invited everyone there to just open up their hearts and let the spirit enter in. It was such a cool experience and i loved it. We also ate at an old folks home for dinner with one of our members, so we spent most of that  day with super old people and i loved it(:

On Saturday, we had 4 baptisms in the zone, and Elder Sumner and I decided to go to all of them. We spent about 6 or 7 hours going to baptisms, and each one was such a spiritual experience.  I am going to be so sad when i have to go home and I'm not part of something like this all the time. We get almost numb to these type of things, but I hope I can cherish every moment out here!

This week, my studies were very focused around the sacrament. We listened to a talk by John Bytheway (oh and ps, if you can send me more of his talks, that would be so so awesome, like for Thanksgiving or something, You could even send it early!) about the sacrament and the importance of it. He used church as an acronym and it was awesome. This Sunday was the first Sunday that i had actually been to church in our branch. The first week I was here was General Conference, and the second i was with Elder Carbajal, and then the third it was Stake Conference, and so now, the 4th week, I finally went to the little branch! Elder Sumner and I were asked to speak, and I talked about 3 Nephi 18 about the Sacrament. I have grown such a huge testimony of the Sacrament, and how it represents our Savior. I read in Jesus the Christ about it as well and how Christ is the bread of life. I love it and am so grateful to be able to partake of it every week!
I love you all!
Love, Elder Romney (:

We are carving pumpkins for zone pday, Everyone is here except 4 of the Elders.
It's sunny in the pumpkin patch!
My pumpkin.....isnt it pretty?
Sister Wirick who helped me carve it!
Elder Heywood and I talking to an older lady at the Senior Center. Elder Heywood is one of my favorite elders! He is a state champion wrestler and is going to wrestle for UVU on scholarship when he gets home from his mission.
This is us singing at the Senior Center.

Monday, October 19, 2015

october 19, 2015 letter

Dear family:
This week has definitely been a lot more calm than the week before! There was still a lot that went on, but it was fun to do some of the things that we did (: We went to the temple on Tuesday and had Stake Conference this weekend and had interviews with President Samuelian too. I don't know if I told you this last week, but Elder Sumner and I got a blessings from president after MLC and it was such a cool experience.  I had a lot of questions that I needed answered and the Lord was kind enough to answer them in the blessing. 

I would say that this week was a very good catch-up week and a week to allow me to get my feet back underneath me. One thing that I learned a lot about this week was charity. As I knelt in prayer one night, I prayed for each person in my district and for their investigators and that they would come to baptism. I ended up falling asleep on my knees at my chair and waking up at 11:30 and then I crawled into bed, exhausted. As I prayed, and especially today, I felt love for each missionary so much more than ever before. It's true what Paul said in Corinthians, "If ye have not charity, ye are nothing." That is my goal, and the thing that I want to work on more this week, gaining charity. Along with your love for Jesus Christ, charity gives you the extra drive you need, and makes the work so much easier. 

I had a lot of questions I was seeking answers for this week, and I'm so grateful that the Lord answered them for me. I'm sorry that I don't have much time to write today.  There were some other crazy things that happened involving stuff I can't really talk about, but all in all it was a great week. We also interviewed 4 people for baptism, and I got to personally interview 2 of them and it was awesome. I love the mission and I know the work is hastening. I know I don't have too much time here, but I'm doing my best to push harder and fully consecrate myself to His work. I love you all! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Love, Elder Romney(:

P day!

At the temple with Elder Sumner
On the way to the temple with Elder Heywood and Elder Sumner. Elder Heywood is a stud! Haha

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

october 12, 2015 letter

Dear Family:
Where do i even start with this week?? It has been one of the most crazy weeks that I have had on my mission! 

This week we had two of our big meetings, MLC and ZTM, MLC is the one with all of the zone leaders and ap's and then ZTM is the one that we run. So I was busy,running around doing all of that, but they were some awesome meetings!! We learned that right now the mission is faithful, but not full of faith. meaning we are doing everything that we are supposed to do, but we aren't doing it with charity and with faith. So we focused a lot on that in ZTM. I personally trained on using the Book of Mormon in finding people and teaching them. Just before it was my turn to train, I felt the impression that i needed to also talk about a talk in general conference called 'It works wonderfully". I loved that one because one of the points in it is, "start where you are". I felt the zone needed to know that it didn't matter where their testimony of the Book of Mormon was at right now, they could "start where they were this moment". I invited them to write their testimony in the Book of Mormon and then hand it out that day. And then my other invitation was to always, always have a Book of Mormon in their hands and expect to hand it out to someone in need. They all accepted it and are excited! 

Earlier in the week I got a message from Elder X saying that Elder Y was having a really hard time. Elder Y was told that his scholarship to run at Ohio State would be taken away if he didn't go home and take the scholarship right now. On the way home from MLC I got permission to stop by their apartment at about 10:30to see how Elder Y was doing and he just kind of brushed it off like nothing had happened. Then he called me later that night, saying how grateful he was for being my companion and was grateful for my example, but that he was going to go home. I tried to talk to him on the phone, but he wouldn't talk very much. I made him promise that he would at least let me go on an exchange with him before he left and he said he wasn't sure. On Friday night, I got a text from him saying that he was going home and that if I want to go on an exchange with him, it would have to be that night. so I got permission from the mission president and the ap's to go to another zone and go on an exchange with him. I was thinking that i would only be with him for a day, but the president later called me and told me that I would stay with him for a little longer, even a couple of weeks if I had to. So when I got there I only had one shirt and a change of garments and one tie and no suit for Sunday. so I had to borrow Elder X's suit! This experience was one of the hardest things I've done! i don't know that I've ever relied so much on the spirit as to what I was supposed to say. I honestly did all that I could to persuade him and we stayed up until about 12:30 in the morning talking. I felt more of the Saviors love at that time than ever before. I felt the distinct impression that I was doing exactly what the Savior would do if he was here. That next day, we worked so hard. I've honestly never seen so many miracles in one day. I won't go into a bunch of detail with them, but we put someone on date for baptism in the morning at the church, and then we taught a lesson to a less active family that went super well and they said they would come to church on Sunday.  Then we met a Hispanic guy outside of his house and ended up just asking him if we could walk in and we taught the entire family as they sat in the living room and they accepted to come to church and to read from the Book of Mormon.  There were many other miracles that day, but the biggest one, and probably one of the biggest miracles that I've seen happen on my entire mission, was from a homeless lady. We were late to a dinner appointment and we were running as fast as we could to the car and we ran past this lady sitting on the sidewalk and a hispanic lady cutting down some branches. We yelled "hola" to the lady and kept running. We heard from behind us, "hey, are you mormons"?! and we stopped and turned around and it was the homeless lady on the sidewalk. She said, "I have to tell you a few things". In my mind I was thinking, "aww man, she is about to rail on us and the church, and we don't have time for this". But we went over and started talking to her. She just had lost her house a while ago because she had several heart surgeries that cost her 3 million dollars in the end with all of the bills and she had gotten robbed just weeks before in her home. So she has nothing now. She said that she hadn't showered in 45 days and that she just wanted to be done with everything. She told us that she used to be a member, but fell away and told us how sad she was because of it. My heart was broken and I felt so bad for her. Her son couldn't even help her. We told her we wanted to teach her and help her, but she said that she wouldn't be here in a couple days. We weren't sure what that meant exactly. But we tried as hard as we could to persuade her to not give up, and knelt behind her on the side of the road and gave her a blessing. She grabbed our hands and began to cry as we gave her the blessing. The biggest part  of this miracle is what she said to Elder Y. I had been praying for a way to help Elder Y that whole day. This lady took his and said, "Don't ever give up, even if you save one soul like mine, it's worth it". Elder Y and I almost began to cry. I got the very distinct impression when she was talking to Elder Y that she was sent from God to be in that position at that time and that the Savior was talking through her directly to Elder Y to let him know that he can do it. I also got the impression that, that lady will be blessed for helping one of His disciples and that God would be merciful to her. 
It was an amazing day, and it was so hard. Elder Y ended up deciding that he still wanted to go home. It broke my heart, but I hope the best for him. It taught me a lot about what it will be like when i have kids. I just need to be patient and long-suffering and do everything I can to help them. 

One really fun thing was that I got to go to a baptism up in Woodburn because i was in Keizer on that exchange. it was so good to see everyone and everyone was so surprised to see me! It was a great boost, and I loved it (: 

I love you all! 
Love, Elder Romney (:

Playing soccer with some little kids!
My zone. We are the biggest in the mission at 26 missionaries!

Doing some service.

At the baptism
We all sang at MLC
At MLC. Elder Joly became AP last week! I love him, and he is my brother in the mission, meaning we were both trained by Elder Ashcraft

 Here I am with two of my former companions, Elder Perryman and Elder Carbajal, along with my former Branch President and his wife.