Monday, January 25, 2016

january 25, 2016 letter

Dear Family:
It was another awesome week! So to tell you about the miracle that happened last week, we took president Aguiar, who is one of the people in the mission presidency, out with us,  and it was a lot of fun! We had a referral, from one of the English elders, to go and visit a Hispanic man who had approached them at a restaurant and handed them his address, and all he said was "I want to be taught." They gave us his address and we decided to visit him with president Aguiar because he sounded pretty solid. We walked up to the referrals' home, and President Aguiar said, "Wait a minute, i think i know this guy." When the man came to the door, Pres. Aguiar immediately embraced him in his arms and told him that he had missed him. It turns out that this referral used to go to the Branch years ago. His wife was a member, but passed away around 10 years ago and he stopped going to the church and hadn't had contact with anyone for over 10 years. We had a wonderful lesson about the atonement and the Plan of Salvation and how his heart can be healed from the loss of his wife several years past. It was such an amazing experience. He came to church this week and knew so many members and they all remembered him. There were a lot of warm embraces welcoming him back. It seems like he really enjoyed it and we are going to have a lesson with him in a week at President Aguiar's home and ask him to be baptized. 

We also had a super awesome lesson with the sister of a member that we are helping become active again. Her sister was put in the hospital a little while ago, and we were able to go and give her a blessing. We had an amazing lesson with her and when we came back to teach her again, she wasn't feeling well and had fallen asleep, so we sat and talked with the member and her other sister. It turns out that her other sister is being taught by another religion, and so we started to talk to her about prayer and pulled up a bunch of scriptures, saying that if we ask God, we will receive answers, and then began to teach her that, that was what Joseph Smith did, because he had a question about which church was true. The spirit was so strong in the room, and they were really involved in the lesson. We showed them a restoration video on our ipad, and then asked them  "if God were here right now, what question would you ask Him"? and they responded, "To know which church is true." We testified that they didn't have to look any further and that it was right here. We gave them the analogy about the gospel being like a pie and we have to only try it to know that it is good, not eat or "know" the whole thing all at once. It was awesome and we are excited to teach them again! The chapel was full this week and it was awesome, too. The work is coming along! 

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

Zone P-day
top row left to right Elders: Elders mounteer, larson, Gayton, Gee, Hard, Joly, Searcy, Wankasky, Burnside, Barger, Ales, Hansen, Turnbow, Bateman
SIsters left to right: Sister Mcarthur, Clark, Estudillo, Gifford
Elders bottom row left to right: Elder Sear, Hall, Romney, Keith, Malauulu, Bowcutt

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

january 18, 2016 letter

I'm sorry I don't have much time to write a big weekly email, but this week was awesome, once again filled with miracles. The last two or three weeks have been some of the best I've had on my mission. We've found a record amount of people and we have taught a ridiculous amount of lessons, but the problem is that we aren't doing very well at getting people to Sacrament meeting, which is kind of disappointing. That is going to have to be the next hurdle for Elder Joly and me to tackle. Maybe you could keep me in your prayers, that my investigators will come to church? Thanks so much!
I will have to tell you about some of the miracles that happened this week in my next letter. Don't let me forget to tell you the story with President Aguiar.  It was quite the remarkable story (:
I love you so much!
Love, Elder Romney 

Elder Bromley and me in the back, Elder Anderson in front with Elder Joly. This was on an exchange on Friday.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

january 11, 2016 letter

Dear Family:
It was another awesome week! Starting out I was able to go on an exchange with Elder Allridge in Woodburn. It was the first time that I had gone tracting there for almost a year. I definitely love that place and miss it. It was kind of funny, because we had Elder Allridge stay in his area and he had only been there for 3 weeks, so it was kind of us just running around like chickens with our heads cut off, and then going back to some people that I had taught before. It was actually a lot of fun. Elder Allridge wanted to get to know the Branch President a little bit better, but when we went by his house, he wasn't there. At the end of the night, Elder Allridge and I were praying to know where to go and what to do with the last half hour of our night. We got the interesting impression to go to a specific family's house and we followed it. We got there, and the President was with them! It was so awesome to see him there, with one of the families I had worked so hard with when I was back in Woodburn. That family has definitely changed so much from when I was there, and it is amazing to see the atonement working in their lives. But we couldn't pass up the opportunity to teach with President, so we jumped right on it and started teaching the family. There was a non-member there and we committed them to come to church and they accepted. It was nice being in one of my old areas with one of my old friends who was one of my old companions! I guess it was retro day! 

The night that I started this exchange with Elder Allridge, was MLC. It was such an awesome MLC. We had a little of rebuking and calling to repentance, but I have learned to love that. The mission is going through an awesome "going back to the basics" cleansing. It was fun to teach as well. In the MLC we taught about obedience being the first law of heaven, and planning, and studies. And then right after, we went on exchanges with Elder Allridge and Anzures. 

The very next night we went on exchanges with the Elders in Forest Grove, Elder Clark and Elder Palmer. I served around Elder Clark as his zone leader and he is the one that wants to be a QB at BYU, and we throw a ball around sometimes when we're together. He is pretty excited to hear about Ty Detmer becoming the QB coach. Elder Palmer is the one that took over as zone leader when I left Forest Grove and is just an awesome missionary. Elder Clark is from Arizona and Elder Palmer is from Arkansas. Elder Palmer came here to Newberg with me. It is always interesting to go on exchanges with someone who doesn't speak Spanish, and it is another added weight and pressure because I end up being the only one that can speak to the people.  But they are awesome opportunities to grow and exercise faith that God will truly give you the words in the very moment that you need them and that the gift of tongues is true. It's not hard to talk to people in Spanish, but it is difficult to teach in Spanish on your own, or even in English on your own, when you are so used to teaching with a companion. Companions are awesome. But we spent the day riding on our bikes and talking to literally every person that we saw. There was one point that we were knocking out an apartment complex and we didn't feel that much was getting done and that it wasn't very inspired, so we decided to go stand in the center of the complex and to have a prayer in our heart and wait and see where the Holy Ghost would lead us to go.  All of a sudden someone walked out of their apartment and we started talking to him and he ended up being really interested and we gave him a Book of Mormon and got a return appointment, so needless to say, we just went back into the center of the complex and waited again until another impression came to us to go somewhere.  We ended up getting 3 new investigators! It was kind of funny, but another testament that listening to the still small voice really does work, and that it's better to work smart and hard than just hard. We were in the middle of teaching a part-member family when all of a sudden one of our old investigators, that we hadn't been able to get a hold of for the longest time, came walking in. We had prayed, before we entered into the part-member family's home, that we would be able to ask someone to be baptized that day and so we were fully expecting to find someone, or have them find us, that would accept the challenge. We immediately, but subtly, changed our teaching tactic to teaching the old investigator that came walking in. We taught him from the scriptures from the chapter where Ammon cuts of the arms of the robbers, but didn't go very far because the spirit told us to stop and expand on prayer. He seemed to have a really good grasp on what prayer was, so we went more in depth with him and told him that he could receive the answer to his prayers if he just asked. We showed him a 3 minute restoration video of the first vision and gave him the example of how Joseph Smith asked in prayer what was true and right. The spirit filled the room as he watched the video of the Restoration and directly afterwards, we asked him if he would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the proper authority of God. He sat quietly for at least 2 minutes, no kidding, and I sat there, on the floor right next to him facing him, and I stared so intently at him as he sat there looking down at his hands. I prayed in my heart that he would hear and feel of the spirit, and you could see the corners of his mouth rise just a little bit indicating that the spirit was touching his heart. He said right after, "I just don't know if i can do it." We shared with him the scripture that talks about putting off the natural man and becoming a saint through the atonement of Christ and that he needed to put off the natural man that was trying to keep him from being baptized. After promising blessings and bearing testimony we asked him to be baptized again, but this time with a specific date of February 20th and he said that he would pray about it. 

One of the analogies that Elder Palmer used as he was teaching really touched me. I thought it was kind of weird at first, but as I thought about it, it really made sense. He said that the Gospel is like a pie. In order to know if a pie is good, do we have to eat the whole pie, or even a whole slice? No, we just have to take a bite of it to know that it is good. It is the same with the Gospel, we don't have to know everything or have to read all of the Book of Mormon to know that it is true. The spirit can give us a taste of the goodness that it brings. It is a great analogy because people are afraid to take that step of faith when they can't see it all before them. They have to eat the whole pie to know for themselves and before they can say that the pie was good. That isn't what God wants, and in reality, no one has ever partaken completely of the pie other than God and His Only Begotten Son. So sometimes we just have to walk by faith. 

The last miracle that I want to talk about was with Elder Joly last night. We were walking out of an apartment complex from talking with a less-active member when the spirit told us to knock a door. We knocked it and a girl in her mid-20's answered the door. She said to wait just a minute and she would be back. We were left on the porch for about 3 minutes kind of laughing as to what was going on until she came back. When she came back she told us to come in. We walked in and it was her and what I am presuming was her boyfriend. There were no chairs in the apartment because they had just moved in a week or so earlier. We testified ever so boldly of the restoration and taught all of the principles from it while using the pictures from the pamphlet. I can't even explain what its like when you are taken over by the spirit and He speaks for you. It was as if every word that left our mouth was as an angel speaking and testifying of the truth. It was so clear and better than either one of us have ever done while practicing. We invited them to be baptized and they said that they would if they came to know it was true. We ended with a kneeling prayer on their living room hardwood floor. She told us at the end that she was expecting us because she had talked to some missionaries earlier that week. Apparently the Lord led us specifically to her out of all of the doors in that entire apartment. Sometimes its crazy to step back and think about what I had just done. I literally knocked on some random door, went into a strangers home and testified of a restoration and exhorted them to read and pray and to change their life completely and be baptized. Kind of crazy and definitely something you don't get to do on a daily basis! But I personally love it so much. It increased my testimony of faith and listening to the spirit, and that the Lord really can speak to others through you if you just humble yourself. I feel as Nephi did when he said that he couldn't write but a hundredth of what he wanted to. There were so many other miracles throughout the week that i would write you about if I only had the time. But I know this church is true, and that it is only through baptism that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father. 

I love you all! I miss everyone back at home, but I know that it is going to rip my heart out when I have to take this badge of in 5 months! 
Love, Elder Romney (:

Starting from top left going right. and then middle row far left going right and then bottom row far left going right/
Elders Britland, Schmidt, Allridge, Anzures, Clark, Meyers, Rodgers, Clem, Burnside, Hebdon
Elders Bromley, Anderson, Palmer, Romney, Joly, Floisand, Larsen, Heywood, Giddings, Wake
Sisters Estudillo, Gifford, Wirick, Summers, Sister Samuelian, President Samuelian, Sister Parish, Mumford, Garner, Holt.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

january 4, 2016 letter

Dear Family:
It was a really good week full of miracles! I have been loving being able to get out there and just teach. That is probably one of my favorite things in the world. It is still a little nerve wracking at times even though I have been out for a year and a half, but I absolutely love it. I had a missionary ask me this last week what my favorite thing to do in the mission was, and I told them that my absolute favorite thing to do in the mission is to ask people to be baptized. I love the rush of adrenaline that comes from it, and the spirit that enters into the room. Sometimes we forget about how big of a question that is.. We are basically asking them to change their life completely to be in accordance with God, and to live that way for the rest of their lives. I used to be really disappointing in myself when people would say no, but I've come to better understand agency and the role that it plays, and I know that if I don't ask them it will deny them the opportunity to use the atonement. I love the way a missionary explained it in Zone Training Meeting this last week. He compared sharing the gospel to orange juice. He said that if you were at home and you were drinking a glass of orange juice and your friend walked in but you didn't want to offer him some orange juice because you were afraid he wouldn't like it and would be offended. That would be a pretty ridiculous assumption right? It is, to a much larger scale, a lot like sharing the gospel. If we don't ask them to be baptized, or don't ask them to take the lessons, or to come to church because we are afraid they will be offended, its frankly a bad assumption! But I would have to say that, that is my favorite part of being on a mission, the rush and spirit that you get as you lean forward and ask someone to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. 

I went on two different exchanges this week. I went on one with a set of zone leaders and I got to stay up in my area in Newberg. We had a great day and we were able to teach a bunch of people. At the end of the night, we drove 15 minutes to a city called Dayton, which is actually where my church building is for the Spanish branch, YSA branch, and another English branch. We went there to teach some potential investigators that we had found. They didn't answer, so we felt the impression to knock a couple of the apartment doors around it. We knocked on 2 others and nobody answered, but on the 3rd one, a Hispanic guy with his shirt off answered the door. He told us we could come in. He was there with his wife that he had just gotten married to a year before. We pulled up some chairs and began to teach them the restoration, and the spirit was so strong there. They have a 7 year old little girl who they just want to give the best of everything. He was looking for worldly ways to give her the best, but we boldly testified to him that there is no school, or job, or money that could do better for his daughter, than to be a part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit immediately filled the room and he couldn't speak. It was so amazing to see him trying to rationalize, but as we bore testimony to him, the spirit bore witness to him that what we were teaching was true. We asked them to be baptized, and they said they would, if they came to know this was the true church. Fast forward 4 days, I am on an exchange again, and we are planning for our next lesson for them and decide to ask them to be baptized on a specific date. We took our branch president's wife with us and it was an amazing lesson, again accompanied by the Spirit. We asked them to be baptized on January 30th, and they accepted to prepare for baptism on that day. 

I was on an exchange that day with a struggling missionary. I was also sick to my stomach for the first time on my mission. Normally I am just sick with a headache or a stuffy nose, but I have never been sick to my stomach on my mission, and it wasn't fun. You know how I am when i get stomach sick......I'm just like Dad!  I would probably rather have a broken bone than to be sick like that!  There was another elder that was sick in the zone, and we were just going to have our companions go together, but I got the distinct impression as I prayed about it that I needed to stay with the struggling missionary and I just needed to tough it out. I got a blessing and was able to push through the day. Sister C, one of the sisters in the branch is my mission mom out here in Newberg, kind of like A was, or like L was in Forest Grove. Haha she made me some special kind of herbal tea at dinner that helped a lot! When we come back you will have to meet her....she is so so awesome and actually reminds me a lot of you mom!

On Sunday, it snowed for the first time in this part of Oregon in two years! It was the first time that I had seen snow in a long time! I had to drive to Dayton in a mini van and there was a lot of ice, so that was a little scary. A lot of the wards got cancelled, and it was like no snow at all, compared to Utah!  But I guess they don't really take care of the roads here very well when it snows and nobody knows how to drive in it. There was a lady from El Salvador in our branch who had never seen snow before in her life, and she is like 30 years old. So we showed her how to throw her first snow ball! 

It was a really good week and I loved being able to get members out to lessons and to see some success. I love you all and its crazy to think that its 2016... time is just flying way too fast!
 I love you all! Share that orange juice with everyone (: 
Love, Elder Romney.

Elder Joly and me at the Rock.

On an exchange

Our view from our back window
The tree of life, haha or just a tree at the mall, either way (:

Zone leader exchange

Doing office work

On the phone with president in the van

A while ago when we had to sleep in the van at the airport

At the office