Wednesday, September 30, 2015

september 28, 2015 letter

Dear family,
Sunday was one of the most spiritual days of my mission. I got the amazing opportunity of confirming A a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Once again, I was a little nervous to go in front of everyone, but this time I was so much more calm and was able to allow the Spirit to work through me and not worry about the words that I was saying. I was able to feel my testimony of blessings and ordinations grow so much. It was such a great blessing to be able to give her such an amazing gift from God, and it's even more amazing to feel the love for those you lay your hands upon as you give them a blessing. Your love grows for them immensely. 

I felt that feeling, probably more than ever before on my mission, as I was able to give J the Aaronic Priesthood and ordain him to the office of a Priest in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I had such a sweet and loving experience as I was able to lay my hands on his head and give him the Priesthood of God and then proceed to give him a blessing as directed by the Spirit. The biggest thing that I felt as I was giving him the blessing was the love that God has for him, and how kind and charitable Jeff's heart was. It's such an interesting experience to give a blessing to someone. It's almost like your mind goes blank, and you try and follow exactly what the Spirit is telling you. The way that I feel the Spirit work through me in a blessing is through sensations in my chest/stomach. I can't explain it, but its then like pictures come into my mind and words follow those things that come into my mind. It's such an amazing experience to have the direct words of God flow from your mouth, to the blessing of your brother, His child. It's in the process of receiving those impressions, if the Lord sees fit, that you feel what He feels for the person under your hand. During and especially after the blessing, I felt an immense and overwhelming love for him. As they talked after, I went into my own state of pondering the monumental moment that had just happened in this man's life. All I could think about was how much I and my Father in Heaven loved him. In my patriarchal blessing, it talks a lot about giving blessings to the sick and afflicted, and lifting the hands of the downtrodden, and I want, from this point in my life and forward, to always remain worthy of being a part of a blessing, and being able to give one at any time. I could never pass up an oppurtunity like that. After he was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood, I was also able to give his wife a blessing of health and comfort, as she had fallen down the stairs just a few days before. The same thing again happened, and I felt His love for her. At first, I was kind of worried about what I was going to say, and that I was going to repeat the same words that I had said in the blessing before with him, but as I put my trust in God, he blessed me to follow His spirit and give her a blessing meant for her.

We also had an incredible opportunity to teach a members granddaughter. She and her boyfriend. They both don't believe in God. It was amazing to hear and feel the Spirit in the room as we testified of Jesus Christ as the son of God and that God has a plan for us. They cried as they both bore witness of their Savior and His matchless love. I don't think we realize how big of an impact we, as missionaries, have on not only those whom we teach, but also those we associate with as we teach. It's obvious to see the changes in the person that you are directly teaching, because you are looking for them, but as I reflect on the families that have allowed us to teach in their home, they had a "mighty change of heart" as well. We forget how powerful the Spirit is with us, because we sometimes become numb to it, but the investigators, and especially the members can feel the literal tangibleness of the Spirit that enters in the room as we testify and as the members testify. The sister got up to bear her testimony today on Fast Sunday, and she bore a strong witness of just that; that the missionaries can bring the Spirit into your home. She invited everyone to allow us into their home to teach their families and their friends. It was pretty awesome. 

I'm being transferred this week to be a zone leader in a different area, but I don't know where, yet.  It was pretty sad when I was telling people that I was leaving. They were sincerely saddened and didn't want me to go! The common phrase was, "How can we veto this?" Haha it was pretty funny (: But it was really sad when I told a little 7 year old boy that I was leaving and he almost started crying! Haha! He pulled me down and whispered, "Can you at least come over on Monday and say goodbye?"  It was so sad! But I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for me! I know that the Lord will bless us as we follow him faithfully, and I know that the priesthood is true, without a doubt. It is the power of God. 
I love you all!
 Love, Elder Romney (:

I went in an exchange with Elder Walters!! (Spencer and Elder Walters didn't know each other before their missions, but Elder Walters' mother works at BYU with Spencer's Dad..... a fun coincidence!)

The little boy who almost cried when I said I was leaving. I kneeled down to be at his height, but he just kneeled down with me! Haha!

We played a game we call Tron on p-day. It's like all out dodgeball with frisbees. It's awesome!!

Me with a little tiny puppy (:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

september 21, 2015

Dear family:
Sorry that I am writing kind of late, but this week was really awesome. We had 5 baptisms in the zone this week..... I'm pretty sure that's the most baptisms that this zone has ever had in one week! 

We had the baptism on Saturday and another on Sunday! We had a lot of awesome participation by the ward and we had 2 major politicians of Oregon come! One was Shawn Lindsay and the other was Rob Cornilles. They are super awesome guys. Shawn Lindsay baptized L and Brother Corbridge baptized J. It was so spiritual there and you could definitely feel the love that was in the room. Elder Adams and I ended up being the witnesses for both of the baptisms. He came up here all the way from Lebanon! There were so many bumps in the road with both of them and there were so many times that they were close to falling away, but each time as they prayed and read from the book of Mormon they were able to overcome the trials. They are probably my biggest testimonies that the Book of Mormon and prayer and going to church changes lives. Seeing the Book of Mormon change their life strengthened my testimony so much. I've become really really close to them and they promised they would come for my homecoming. They will definitely be people I will always remember. On Sunday I was able to confirm L a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She is the first person that I've personally confirmed. It was kind of nerve wracking to give a blessing in front of everyone at the ward, but it was thrilling! She said after that her heart was so full and she is so thankful for her decision to be baptized. She cried and said it was the first time she had ever cried for joy in her life and then said,  jokingly, that she didn't know if she could stand crying like this all the time! J also had an amazing experience and they are excited to be sealed in the temple in a year! If I can, I want to come back for their sealing with the other missionaries that taught her. 

A's baptism was awesome as well. They had all the young women sing at it and her dad baptized her. He began to cry as he said the words to baptize her and it was so sweet and tender. I'm glad that the converts are baptized by their close acquaintances or relatives, because they will be with them the rest of their lives, and we missionaries are just going to leave a month later! She will be confirmed a member next Sunday. It was such an amazing weekend and we are excited for them to start their new journey. From my mission I will be able to see a couple families be sealed for all eternity, and that is so special for me. I love this gospel. I testify that God Loves us and that he is in every detail of our lives if we just look for him. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 
I love you guys! 
love, Elder Romney(:

Ball python at a members house!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

september 14, 2015 letter

Dear Family:
This week was a way fun week! We were able to have Mission Leadership Counsel and to have Zone Training Meeting.  The biggest focus in ztm was charity and the Book of Mormon. We spent a lot of time in MLC counseling on how we can better help get people to the waters of baptism. We decided that the Book of Mormon was key, and that we all needed to strengthen our testimonies of our Savior through the Book of Mormon. We also discussed that we needed to help our missionaries better understand the Book of Mormon and to then help them encourage their investigators to read from it every night. Using the BofM is what we have seen as the biggest tool for helping people in their conversion to the gospel.  As a mission leadership counsel, we felt that we needed to teach our missionaries about how to better study from the book of Mormon and to have a spiritual conversion each time they read. We invited them to read from the book of Mormon every day and always ask if it is true. We are making that a big push till the end of the year. So I invite you guys to do the same! Pray each time before reading to know if the book of Mormon is true, and ask for the holy ghost to be there, and then after reading, pray to Heavenly Father to know that the book of Mormon is true. Even if you already know it is true, God will always strengthen your foundation in that testimony.

We brought all of these concepts back to our zone in zone training meeting, and then we taught them (and this was my particular part in ZTM) how to present the book of Mormon to people, particularly on the street and how to use it as a finding tool.  Then I gave them each a book of Mormon and we all practiced on each other, opening a discussion and handing the book out.  Then I invited all of them to hand out that book of Mormon in their hands by the end of the day.  I still need to follow up with them and see how they did!  Next, elder Allridge taught about how to follow up with your investigators on if they are reading the book of Mormon and encouraging them keep reading. One of the things that I found to be super helpful is just asking them how the book of Mormon makes them feel! We reminded all the missionaries to always follow up with their investigators after inviting them to read from the book of Mormon. 

Our investigators are doing awesome. two of them will be baptized on Saturday at 4 and another will be baptized on Sunday at 6, so this weekend will be way fun! Keep us in your prayers that we can keep finding more people to teach. 

For P-day today, elder clark and tayco and allridge and i went out to the highschool football field and ran routes. Elder Clark is a sweet QB and wants to play at byu as a walk on, and elder tayco plays corner and elder allridge plays both as well. So we had a lot of fun running around out there and running 1 on 1's. That was the first time that i have ran routes in almost 2 years since the end of my highschool career! it was a lot of fun!! 

Last week was awesome and I'm super excited for this next week and the baptisms! Please pray that they will go well and that a lot of people can come(: 

I love you all and keep working hard and renewing your testimonies of the Book of Mormon. I know that it brings the most happiness as you read it. I know that this church is true and that God loves us and all of His children. I know my Savior lives. The gospel is awesome!!
Love, Elder Romney (:

Mission Leadership Counsel

Zone Training Meeting

On an exchange with Elder Hair! I am the shadow on the left.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

september 7, 2015 letter

Dear Family:
It was a pretty awesome week this week! The sad part of this week is that we haven't been able to get in contact with one of our family's at all. We think that they might have gotten scared off by their other church or something, but they aren't responding! So we are keeping them in our prayers and hope that they will come back around. We are just having our member work with them and we aren't going to try and bother them at all. We will see what happens! But another investigator, A, is doing awesome. We just talked to her about all of the lessons that we need to teach to her before she is baptized and she is totally on board. We met with her yesterday and this morning and we will also meet with her tomorrow morning. She is doing awesome and really wants to change and feel that forgiveness in her life and that closeness to God that comes from baptism. She will be interviewed for baptism in about a week or so. L and J doing awesome. He just had his interview for baptism and he is super excited. They both just drove down to California to see her dad and on the way down, they have visited every temple on the way! They said they are having a blast down there. 

We had a good Zone conference which is where two or more zones get together and President Samuelian comes and talks to us. That only happens 4 times a year, so they are pretty fun. We also had a night session where some members came and we were able to practice with them doing missionary work. With the hastening of the work, that is what we are pushing really hard to do right now, which is work with the members. No longer are we trying to get a referral from someone and then go knock on that door, but we are getting a referral from someone and then working through that member to do their own missionary work by helping them come up with next steps and helping them role play doing those steps. We go from 80,000 missionaries to 15 million missionaries! And people are a lot more open when their friend talks to them than when two random guys in white shirts talk to them. It's a slower process, but it is a whole lot more effective! 

I don't know if i mention this, but we also won't get social media probably till winter time. So keep your fingers crossed (; haha. I am so excited for general conference and to see who the two new apostles will be! And I'm excited for all the talks and I'll be able to go to the temple and it will be my birthday and then all the holidays come! I'm really excited (: this next little while is going to go by way too fast! 

I know this church is true and that Joseph Smith really did what he said and saw what he saw. I know that families can be together forever if we follow God's commandments and keep our covenants. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God and that he will point us to Jesus Christ which will lead us to eternal life. 
I love you all so much!!! 
Love, Elder Romney (:

Making cookies for some members.... It was an epic fail!! haha

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

august 31, 2015 letter

Dear Family:
On Wednesday we had to get our tires rotated, and found out that the tires had to be completely changed because our car is so old, so we ended up being at les schwab in Forest Grove for a couple of hours, instead of a quick 15 minute tire change. So that kind of threw off our plans. But at the end of the night, we were going to go see a member, but we saw some guys sitting out on the sidewalk in all black clothes and smoking, and we felt that we needed to stop and talk to them. We had things already planned to go over to another member's home, so we pulled over and prayed to know if that was what Heavenly Father wanted us to do with His time. After we prayed,  we got the confirmation that is what we needed to do. So we went and parked the car, and as I was getting out, I accidentally pushed the car alarm, so at about 8:30 at night our car alarm goes off in downtown Banks, so that was pretty embarrassing. But we got out there and started walking on the sidewalk and started talking to the first guy. He was super friendly and open to us. He had some kind of way-out-there beliefs, but we were able to tie that back into the gospel and how it all works. As we were teaching him on the sidewalk, a car pulls up from behind and rolls down the windows. And there is one of our investigators. She asked what his name was and then said to him " I am being baptized on September 19th and I know this church is true. Keep an open heart and an open mind, because it will change everything for you." and then she said goodbye and left. It was one of the coolest things ever. She loves sharing the gospel with other people, and is always willing to share the gospel with her friends and neighbors and everyone and she isn't even a member yet! it was an awesome miracle. I think the Lord wanted us to go there, not only just to give him a chance to accept the gospel, but He wanted to give her the opportunity to follow a prompting and drive by and say hi to us and share her testimony. Following the spirit is so amazing and so important. Its a small instance, but will make a big impact on all the lives that were a part of it. It will affect us differently, but none-the less will effect us in a positive way, allowing us to grow closer to Jesus Christ.
The next day we had a cool lesson with another investigator. She was found while elder Adams was on an exchange with elder Vincent and they had an amazing lesson with her, and we finally just got in to see her about a month or so later. She grew up with a non-religious background and just believes in the universe and that after this life, we just die, and that's the beauty of it. But we were able to teach her about families and how that when we as a family or we as individuals don't have a vision, that we just walk in a circle, just like that man did when he got out of the car during the snow storm to save his family, but couldn't see the horizon and ended up just walking around in circles around his car. When we don't have a vision, we don't have somewhere to go, and we will eventually end up back in the same spot we were before. She said that her biggest desire was to raise a family and to have a big one, at that. We told her that before this life she lived with her Heavenly Father, and that those desires and traits that she has to become a mother and to nurture her family, came from before this life, and are a gift from God. She believes in practically all the same things that we do, the only difference is that she doesn't believe that there is a life after this and she doesn't believe that there is a God and she thinks we just kind of vanish away after this life. We invited her to pray to Heavenly Father and ask him if he was real and to ask him if he can hear her prayers, and we also invited her to read "The Family: A Proclamation To The World".

Thursday was basically just a day of a bunch of meetings! We had to do accountability meetings with all of the district leaders, which means that we had to hold them accountable for their goals for August and find out what their goals were for September and how they are going to achieve them. We also find out about how each companionship is doing in the district and if there is anything we can do to help them. I received inspiration, as I was sitting there listening, that we need to focus on inviting others to do things. ITS ALL ABOUT THE INVITATION. As one of our investigators said the other night in our lesson, "the worst sale, is the sale not made". The answer will always be no to church, to reading, to baptism, etc. if we don't invite them to do anything. But it was a lot of meetings, and after we did Forest Grove 1st's accountability, we went out to a Chinese restaurant with elder Tayco and Elder Clark. It was a lot of fun and we really enjoy being around them. After we were done eating, we went to a lesson we had with the Cambodian family. We had the brother come with us who speaks Cambodian, and is the translator for general conference and it was a lot of fun. We taught about the restoration and how the gospel blesses families and individuals. They took it really well and we had the brother from our ward invite them to be baptized on the 27th of September, and they just said that they need to pray about it and make sure that this is something that they want to do, because they don't want to make a half-hearted effort. It was such an awesome lesson, and now they are on date for the 27 of September. I couldn't be more happy for them and more thankful for Heavenly Father and helping us find them and letting the spirit be with us.  I love this gospel and I am so excited! We have our other two investigators on date for the 19th of September, and three others on date for the 27th, and hopefully one more for the 20th of September, but we had to wait for our breakfast meeting on Friday at the cafe to find out if she will be baptized on the 20th. This work is awesome!!!! 

I had to sleep in Tillamook on a bad couch, and that was super uncomfortable, so when I woke up this morning, I didn't feel that I had gotten very much sleep, and then we had to drive all the way back to Banks to get to our breakfast appointment with an investigator. We went to the Banks Cafe in town and ordered breakfast with our investigator and her dad. After we had breakfast, we shared the message of the restoration with them. When we were at the temple with her a while ago, we had asked her to be baptized on September 20th and she said that she would pray about it. We asked her at the breakfast appointment if she knew this church was true, and if she believed that God the father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph, and she said that she knew that happened. She said when she came to know, that it was like a giant weight was lifted off of her shoulders, and she just felt a peace. We talked to her about her baptismal date, and she said that she felt good about it, but she just wanted to read the Book of Mormon more and pray more about it. So that was an awesome lesson! We will have to help her and make sure that she understands the lessons. 

Right after our breakfast meeting we went to district meeting in Cornelius with Elder Hair conducting. Elder Hair really seems like he is growing, which is awesome. Right after that we did new missionary training with the Greenies and I trained Sister Tanner and it was a lot of fun. I can tell how much her Spanish is really improving. It is cool to see all the progress that people  make on their mission. Their personality doesn't change, but they, themselves, just seem to change in some way. It's really cool to watch. 

After we did the training, Elder Carr and I sped over to the Stake Center to where L was going to have her baptism interview. We had shown up just a few minutes before they were going to do it, and they were already outside waiting for us. She had her interview by President Lewis and she passed the interview! We were super excited for her, but we were positive that she was going to.  When they were done with the interview, We took L, with President to show her the font and to show her the video of Christ being baptized. It was super spiritual and we talked about her getting her patriarchal blessing and she said that she wanted hers! 

Then when we were driving home, we felt the strange impression to go to North Plains, and we decided to follow it. Long story short, there were a lot of miracles that transpired from following that impression and going to North Plains, but one of the most significant ones is that when we went to talk to this lady, she told us she didn't want to talk to us and wasn't interested, but that those two girls walking on the street might be interested, so we turned around, and it ended up being people we knew! one was the young lady who was just baptized and the other is a younger girl who wants to be baptized as well, so we ended up teaching her on the street and having them bear testimony to her. 

It was an awesome week and we just had zone p day up in Tillamook at a member's field/ barn thingy. It was way fun! I know this gospel is true, and I love it! 
Love, Elder Romney (: