Whidbey Island....an Isle of the Sea

September 28, 2015

Week of 9/21-9/27

How the heck is it already Monday again? Time is the weirdest concept as a missionary. You never get used to it. Well, Sister Bell and I had a great week!
Just a brief summary of this past week:
We were able to do lots of service. We had the opportunity to help some of the ill members of our congregation, help out in the community, and do spiritual service for everyone else. We had great lessons with some of our recent converts and less actives- Kristina, the Hellands, Iola, Zaven, the Lewis Family, and Lexie, etc. We were able to meet with both our Ward Mission Leader and our Bishop (miracle) to talk about member missionary work. WE CAN'T FORGET ABOUT ALL THE TRACTING!!!!!!!!! And of course, the General Women's Broadcast was just wonderful. I loved Elder Uchtdorf's parable (especially about the stalker cat- I can relate, people here love their cats and I am starting to as well. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?) Oh, we can't forget about church and partaking of the sacrament.
General Women's Broadcast
"We cannot play with Satan's fiery darts and not be burned."
"You can escape by accepting the Atonement" I love this because we cannot rescue ourselves, we need a rescuer- Christ.
"God is our friend"
"Spring in our step" I have GOT to remember this when we are tracting door 207.
And my favorite of all. "Dear child, now is part of eternity." We cannot wait until a certain day or time to be happy. Choose to be happy now. BE WHERE YOU ARE. Don't waste your day waiting for tomorrow.
A cute mom got up and bore her testimony yesterday about her son serving a mission. It was great to hear her perspective and to hear her put all her trust in the Lord. This is where my testimony stems from today.  This week I have come to enjoy trials of our faith. I have loved knocking on hundreds of doors where people are not happy to see us, I have loved getting the door slammed in our faces.  I have loved sweating in the blazing sun and freezing in the pouring rain.  I have loved being homesick, being physically ill, and feeling spiritually separated from God.  I don't love it because it is easy or fun to overcome but I love it because in those moments I have learned to rely on Christ alone. All my strength, all the hope I have, and the comfort I need is given to me by the love and mercy of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I have learned the importance of prayer, the importance of faith, the importance of positive attitudes, and the importance of relying on the spirit. I know that I am in my Heavenly Father’s care. Heavenly Father has a plan for each of his children.   

I found mine in the scriptures this week:
2 Nephi 10:20-21
"...but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea. But great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea..."
I came across this scripture in my personal study on Saturday. I love how this relates to Sister Bell and I on South Whidbey Island. We have been called on a mission, set apart as missionaries, and assigned to a specific area. There is no doubt in my mind that I am where I am supposed to be. I know that eternal, lasting happiness can only be found through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that God's church has been restored to the Earth. I know that it blesses individuals, families, and those who have gone on before us. I know that we are led and guided by a modern day prophet and as we abide by his words we will not go astray. I know that as we feast upon the words of Christ our hearts and minds will be enlightened with truth. I LOVE THE GOSPEL!
That's my testimony this week! I love you all and I am so grateful for the love, support, prayers, thoughts, etc that you bless me with. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
Love, Sister Rodda

Missions Change You!

September 21, 2015

Transfer: 8,  Week: 1 (BOO!)
Monday: On Monday we had P-day. We emailed and then took our typical chocolate trip to Mona's (only like the best chocolate/gelato place in the history of the universe). After that we did laundry at a members and then went to downtown Langley. We went "shopping". It's not the same with your own money. They had TOMS on the Island. I REPEAT THEY HAD TOMS ON THE ISLAND. AND THE EVEN BIGGER NEWS: I DIDN'T BUY ANY! Missions change you. Truly. We also walked down to the beach and just enjoyed the fresh Washington air for a bit as we watched yachts, cargo ships and cruise ships pass. Then we went and tracted for a bit. It is starting to get hard to tract in the evening because it gets dark early. In the winter it is pitch black by 4 PM.  Luckily, it gets dark at 7 right now, but with no street lights and a billion trees it is really dark by 6:30.
Tuesday: FULL OF SERVICE! We were able to do our studies in the morning (my favorite part of the day) and then do service for a sweet eldery lady in the ward. Then we got our mormon.org time. We get an hour every other week to get on all the church websites to look up talks and stuff. IF WE HAD IPADS WE COULD DO THIS MORE FREQUENTLY. I am not yelling so I don't know why that was in all caps. I am not mad or bitter or jealous or anything. After that we did service at a place called Ryan's House. Then we went out and tracted. Good ol' tracting. It never gets old. ;) And then we had dinner at the cutest couple’s house. They are new in the ward. They are in their 30's and OH MY GOSH THEY ARE YOUNG! We love them and it was great to talk to them about the Atonement! After, we had a lesson with JC about the temple. He is preparing to do baptisms on the 10th of October so that is so exciting! Next step: get sealed to wife!
Wednesday: We had district meeting so we had to catch an early boat. It was a great meeting about listening and inspired questions. We also had a lesson with our recent convert Z. He is doing so well and he is preparing for the temple on October 10th.
Thursday: Thursday was a day of contacting, tracting in the rain, and house checks (we passed!).
Friday: Our weekly planning day so we were inside a lot, then we tracted for a while. Then we meet M. I will tell you more about him in a second. We got to talk to this guy named J. He’s basically doomed to become a member because he has so many connections. He knows like the whole ward and he knows us through some service that we do. Anyway, this week we were able to talk about our beliefs with him. We were able to share our testimonies and it was great! Hopefully he will want to take the lessons.
Saturday: National Day of Service! We (the ward and the community) went and cleaned up a cemetery. It was great and we got to wear those really cool yellow vests that you see on mormon.org! Pictures to come! After that we met up with some elders. Our district leader and his companion and our zone leaders all came over to the Island to tract some areas. Not too much success there but we did get the number of a lady! We are calling her this week. :)
Sundayyyyyyy: We had church of course! And it was lovely. And basically our day was just filled with studies.
So here is a story: Two Mondays ago we were driving to dinner and saw a guy pulled over on the side of the road needing a jump. We stopped, and he said that nobody had stopped for 15 minutes. Well he didn't have cables and neither did we so we left and called a member to go help him. A few days later the guy was broken down on the opposite side of town and when he got out of the truck he turned around to see our members there again. So they jumped his truck. THEN just a few days ago we were grabbing our mail at like 8:30 PM. When we came out of the post office we hear, "OH MY GOSH, YOU ARE KIDDING ME?! YOU TWO GIRLS AGAIN?!" Well he needed another jump and this time he had cables. SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH HIS TRUCK-just sayin. Anyway, we started talking about the church this time. He said that he had met with missionaries in the past and he has attended church before. He didn't know there was an LDS church on the Island. So we exchanged information and are hoping to set up a lesson for this week!
I know that Heavenly Father is a God of Miracles. I know he provides and blesses us according to His will and His timing. I know that prayer is a two way communication between us and God and we can receive answers if we ask in faith. I know that God is perfect and he has a perfect plan for each of His children. He provided a Savior so we can be forgiven of our sins, return to Him, and live with our families forever. I know that we all have talents and abilities that are God-given that we can use to strengthen, uplift, and help others.
I love love love love love you all! I hope you have the best week ever! Pray, read, obey, smile. xoxo

Sister Rodda

These Shoes are Made for Tracting...

September 15, 2015
This week has been a good one- as always. I feel like every week is a good week in the mission field! Sister Bell and I have been able to work hard despite a few sick days. Our district leader shared a quote with us last night that says, "Numbers don't show your hard work, the wear and tear on your shoes do." I love that. Even though we don't have a million investigators, we are still working hard to find and to teach.

Monday: P-DAY! We didn't do much. We went thrift store shopping... fun. And we just hung out with some members. That evening we contacted a few less active members. At one point we parked our car in a neighborhood and were walking down a main road to get to a house when these guys (40s or 50s) yell at us from across the street. "Hey are you real life Mormons?" We laugh and say yes. THEN the guy looks at the other one and is like, "quick take a picture." Then me being stupid- not really thinking- I stop walking and strike a pose. I don't even know where it came from. But the guys laughed and then we were able to have a good conversation. Sometimes being awkward has its benefits. They sent us to some Mormons they know (the ones we were already planning on visiting) and we acted like we had no clue there were members on that road. That night we also taught a recent convert, Kristina. I just love her.

Tuesday: We did our studies in the morning and then we went and did service. I am really bad at telling everyone what I do during the week so I am not sure if I have talked about Ryan's House. But we volunteer at this place where homeless kids or kids that have a bad home life can go to get food or just hang out. Usually they just send us to the back room to do inventory or help organize things. I love when we get volunteer work that has to do with clothes! Then we went tracting for a little bit. Sister Bell has been getting really bad headaches and she got one while we were tracting so we left and contacted less actives. We taught a lesson to a less active (who is like completely active now), JC. He is great and I am so excited for the day he goes to the temple to be sealed to his wife for all eternity. He comes to week every Sunday. This week he brought his grandsons for the second time! He is sharing the gospel with his family!

Wednesday: Wednesdays are our crazy busy days because we have meetings on the mainland so we have to catch the boat pretty early. We had zone meeting this week and it was great! During the meeting they dismissed all of us to go tracting and practice some things that we learned. We were assigned new companions for that half hour and were sent to these random apartments. Sister Lundeen and I tracted 5 houses. Only 1 was not home. The first door was a woman, a husband, and 4 daughters! Low and behold we got the elders a return appointment with this family later that day! Hopefully they became new investigators for them. The next two doors were also very nice people and we got return appointments for both of them. The last person we talked to was NOT INTERESTED. I tried to give her a pamphlet but she said she would just "toss it" so then not thinking again I asked her if she would just want to leave the pamphlet lying around her house but before I finished the sentence she slammed the door in our face. Sister Lundeen just laughed and laughed like, "what the...? would you mind just leaving this around the house?" but I told her that even though she didn't want the pamphlet if she had it in her home you never know who might pick it up to start reading. After zone meeting we had to get an oil change, stop by the mission office for ferry passes, and then we went grocery shopping. THEN we waited in the ferry line, finally caught a boat, and then came back and emailed. The library was closed Monday for the holiday and closed Tuesday for some sort of training. Then we contacted a few more people and did studies! OH AND THE BEST PART OF THE DAY: I GOT PANDA EXPRESS!!!!!!!!

Thursday: On Thursday we spent a lot of time inside. Sister Bell had some pretty crazy headaches from exhaustion so our mission doctor said that she needed to get caught up on sleep. We were able to do some service that day and we were also able to tract a little bit.

Friday: This our weekly planning day so we did a lot of planning. We also contacted more people and tracted. That's about what we do all day everyday! Missionary work is the greatest work on earth!

Saturday: WE HAD A BAPTISM! Well kind of. There is this guy named Francisco and he lives in Pencove (out of area), he is Hispanic, YSA age, but he comes to our ward. So long story short, he had like a thousand opinions of where to get baptized. He was being taught by the Spanish missionaries but he couldn't attend the Spanish branch because of his work schedule and same with the Pencove ward. He comes to our ward every week because that is where his fellowship is and that is where his schedule permits him to go. So weird situation but he was baptized in our ward. We had to plan the program and get everything ready. We even sang a musical number. I had decided after the first time I sang in sacrament that it got me out of singing for the rest of my mission but now that I sung at the baptism - I get out of it for the rest of my life! The baptism turned out great though and we got to eat tamales and delicious food afterwards. We got to teach another recent convert that day named Kirsten. SHE IS GREAT! And then we tracted the rest of the day!

Sunday: Yesterday we attended our meetings and church. We then went tracting for a few hours. We got to talk to some great people. One was a former investigator and we got to talk with him about the atonement. The other was a man who just moved into the area 2 weeks ago from Texas and is a pastor of a local church. Good thing he didn't bash. Nicest guy ever and he looked like dad so it kinda freaked me out. Then we talked to a really nice lady who invited us back for tea. She knows a missionary so we were able to talk about the things missionaries do! Overall it was successful!

One of the greatest things I learned this week is on increasing our faith. We can do that by living a life of gratitude, being obedient out of love, giving of ourselves and serving, know that we depend completely on God, and being anxiously engaged in a good cause.

I have also realized today how much you really do change on a mission. However, you only change if you apply the things you are learning. If you just go through the motions you will probably stay the same or even become "worse". It's like that commercial that came out right before I left about toothpaste... "If you aren't whitening, you are yellowing." If we aren't constantly applying the basic principles of the Gospel that we are sharing with everyone and we aren't striving to strengthen our testimony than we are "yellowing". Something else I read in Preach my Gospel today that I shared with Sister Bell is it says that if we are doing all the things the Lord has asked us to do, we will still experience disappointment but we will not become disappointed in ourselves. I have seen that over and over and over again as a missionary. Sometimes you do question how effective you are or question what could have been better but you are not disappointed in yourself because you know that in that moment of time you did your very best. So you go home, study harder, pray harder, and brush your teeth and when you get put in a similar situation you apply those things and show your white pearls off with a smile. That's the great thing about missions (or life)... you are constantly improving.

I love being a missionary. I am sad to know that I only have 8ish months left but I am so excited to take the things I have learned home and apply them to the rest of my life and my future family! Let's be real though... I still have 8 months. That's a long time! I still have so much to learn and so many skills/attributes to acquire. Missions are hard to describe but they really do change who you are and change your perspective on what truly does matter!

I am grateful for the Atonement of my Savior Jesus Christ and the comfort it brings to me. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the Earth. I know that we can live with our families forever as we keep the commandments and live righteously. I know that we can be used as instruments in the Lord's hands as well.

Have a great week my favorite people! I love you all and I am so grateful for all the love and support you give to me and all the other missionaries throughout the world. FAITH BEFORE FEAR. #HoldtotheRodda There is sunshine in my soul.

Sister Rodda

Run For Cover

August 31, 2015



The wind has been INSANE. The power was out on the south part of the island all of Saturday and some of Sunday.  People still don't have power. Luckily ours came on in the middle of the night.We got home at 9:00 after running home in the pouring rain. We were soaked. There was no light. And we only had one flashlight.  It was greeattttttt. Much sarcasm. But it was a good one for the journal. 

We have also been doing a lot of service. It has been nice because the work is kinda slow right now on the island. We taught a CUTE young family this week. Mom, dad, and two little boys (3 and 2). They are PERFECT. Not investigators yet because we want to make sure they are committed but they are so cute. They have been together for 10 years but they haven't found God until the last year when he became sober. So they are awesome and just so sweet.  Sister Bell is doing great! I love her work ethic and her desire to be the best missionary ever. I am like 100% sure that I learn more from her than she learns from me! I love her!

That's about all for this week. Not really sure what else to include. OH YEAH. we went to Boeing today. Like the coolest place EVER. You can fit all of Disneyland and the parking lots inside of it. Disneyland is still better but Boeing was cool. I have quite the interest in airplanes. Not the interest in working on them but the interest in riding in them. 

Welp, for real this is nice.  That is all! I love you all and wish you the bestestestest. xoxo

Sister Rodda
Keep reading for Sis Bell's version of Saturday's experience.  I guess Rachel didn't want us to worry too much! 
SATURDAY: it was super windy. Like our crazy wind, but with trees everywhere, which means that tree branches were everywhere. We were walking up to a house and the next door neighbors tree branch fell and it scared us....our road was shut down because of a fallen tree, but of course we didn't know that until we were already 10 minutes down the road...so we had to take a 15 mminute detour. Quite fun. The power also was out. We had one flashlight. Luckily we found some matches and were able to light the stove for dinner. And we needed to visit a LA down the road from us, so we walked. It was rainy and super dark....and the LA had moved. As we were walking back a car drove past us and then stopped. and just sat there. Sister Rodda said she started repenting of everything she had ever done. We past the car and it just stayed there and once we got around the bend we ran for it. We lived :) It was an adventure.