October 26, 2015
Dearest Family,

I, Rachel, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father (and mother); and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having tried to be highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.  (last week's "ponderizing" scripture was 1 Nephi 1:1)

We had a great week filled with miracles and lessons! We were able to teach lots of less actives and recent converts this week. I love the faith of less actives and ironically enough they seem to do the most missionary work.  I went to Lake Stevens for a day (on exchanges) and was able to teach a few other lessons there. One of the greatest lessons we had this week was with a returning less active member. He has been coming pretty consistently and this week we felt inspired to teach him about priesthood and auxiliaries. Our member present showed up and something to share. Instead of asking what he wanted to share I just said yes... then the whole lesson I was worried about why I said yes so easily and thought the lesson might get off topic. However, it worked perfectly. And we even answered a question this less active had without knowing his question. Next week he will be saying a prayer in a sacrament. That's huge for someone who was less active for 20+ years.

This week I had my first meltdown. I am pretty impressed I made it just shy of a year to have my first. I think it's a quarter-life crisis. The whole "turning 20" thing has really changed me. I am old. I don't like it. And ew. It's just going to get worse every year.

Sister Mahoni, Sister Jackson, Sister Bell, and I all had a "meeting" this week to discuss working with members. I asked Heavenly Father to show me my weaknesses and BOY, DID I SEE THEM. I have really failed to use my members effectively. I think my biggest problem was I didn't even know HOW to use them. We brainstormed a lot of great ideas and we have started to implement them already. They were going to come to the Island this week but it didn't work for us so we told them not to worry about it. But today Elder Egan (our district leader) told us he is coming over on Thursday. I think they are just coming to work in our area to help us. Whatever revelation they received, we are ready to see more miracles!

We had 5 less actives show up at church as well as ONE (lame that only one came) recent convert and a former investigator. It was a great week!

All my love from WA to everywhere else,

Sister Rodda.

If I Don't See You, You Aren't There

October 19, 2015
You may have seen my request on Instagram/Facebook - I am putting together a digital "birthday card" for Sis Rodda.  I need you to video yourself saying Happy Birthday and send it to me either text at 801-664-6088 or email  I think a lot of people think "she doesn't want to see me" or "everyone else will do it so I don't need to"  or too shy or whatever.  No excuses though, ok?  Contact me with questions/problems.  I'd like these by the end of the week. Thank you so so much!!  Jenn

Week of 10/12/15-10/18/15 (kinda long, whoops)

Monday: Our preparation day was great last Monday. We went to the other side and went bowling with our district. I took second overall (I am humble about it too). Because we are the ONLY apartment in the mission without a washer and dryer (UGH) we spend most of our Mondays at members’ homes doing laundry (but I LOVE the members!). We also had to take a pit stop at Sweet Mona's of course! That evening we had 3 lessons with recent converts and less actives! Our first lesson was with a less active couple. They were really active in their last ward but for some reason people (like this couple) come to the Island to just "chill" for a while. When we stopped by their house a couple weeks ago we asked if we could "practice teaching" on them. We have to keep up our teaching skills with our lack of investigators, and they agreed. When we showed up on Monday they both came to the door, they turned off the TV, and we taught a 25 minute lesson including 5 minutes of feedback on where we can improve. We even set up a return appointment. After them we went to the Dowds. They are a recent convert family and are doing so well. We also practiced on their family and it was fun for them to take on the role of investigators. Following the Dowds, we taught our recent convert, Kristina! WE LOVE HER! She shared her conversion story with Sister Bell and the spirit was so strong.

Tuesday: We had a meeting with our Ward Mission Leader, tried to do service at a place in the community but they didn't have anything for us to do, and we went to dinner at this awesome pizza place with two members of our congregation. YUM YUM YUM (we even got to take the left overs home- the Islanders rock). We also got to teach another less active. I taught her a few times when I was with Sister Perkinson but we hadn't been able to get a hold of her in FOREVER (dang Islanders). Luckily, we stopped by and she let us right in (*cough* NEVER HAPPENS). She is literally a latter day Job by the way. You name anything awful and she's experienced it. She has even been blown up. I am sure she has been struck by lightning like 10 times too. Sometimes people get the unlucky side of the wishbone. <-- I made up that phrase just barely, pretty clever I say. Anyway, she has been struggling a lot (I would too if I was a modern day Job). And all that kept coming to mind was the scripture my family is "ponderizing" this week. John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." There is a difference between the peace of God and the contentment of life. Content consists of simply enduring and little satisfaction. Peace requires love, trust, harmony, and enduring WELL which brings temporal and eternal happiness.

Wednesday: We had zone meeting early in the AM which means we have to catch an earlier boat. YIPPEEEEE. I think the worst part about the ferry ride is you can't have your car on so you shiver until the friction of your jaw warms your whole body. Which first of all doesn't happen and second of all it isn't even winter yet. But here is the awkward story: A few months ago we were sitting in a big zone conference with half of the mission. In the middle of some instruction by the assistants, President Bonham points at an elder and calls him up to the stand. He whispers something to him and the elder heads back to his seat. On the way back to his seat he took off his suit coat and gave it to one of the sisters sitting at the front of the chapel who was freezing. Okay so now fast forward to last Wednesday. Sister Bell and I show up to zone meeting a little early because you are either 30 minutes early or 30 minutes late because, unfortunately, you can't control the captain of the boat. We are like ice cubes in a chapel of -10 degrees. Because of this elder experience and the "okay" from the mission president, an elder took off his suit coat and hands it to me. UHHHH AWKWARDDDDDD. I felt too bad to say no so I just took it. But 30 seconds later we left to go to the "bathroom" and I just so happened to leave the suit coat on the back of the pews. We also had the wonderful opportunity to give instruction at Zone Meeting on hope. It went well, I was so proud of Sister Bell. She is a great teacher. :) We had a lesson with a recent convert, Zaven, later that day and we had a meeting with our Bishop.

Thursday: We finally had a lot of working time! We went to one of the lowest points of our area (geographical wise- and probably in other ways as well). We were able to contact less actives, referrals, potentials, and we even sang to a very ill (would be active if wasn't so sick) member. Yes, you read that correctly. I don't know how I keep getting put in these singing situations, I even brought this one upon myself. Luckily he fell asleep while we were singing which meant it couldn't have been too awful. We taught two other less actives that evening. OH and Sister Bell and I got one-of-a-kind, original, Sea Hawks pillow cases! We are spoiled. This was literally a day of miracles. We have been praying and praying and praying to find prepared people or to have prepared people come to us and we got 3 texts that day with referrals. Unfortunately, one was texted to the wrong sister missionaries (not a funny joke to play), and one was a less active that didn't even live on the Island anymore. But we still had one! Pray for Jeff!

Friday: We had weekly planning so that took up most of our day. Our detailed planning might need to be cut down some so we actually get to the plans we are setting. Sometimes I get a little carried away. I like planning. We taught a returning less active! He is doing so well and we are looking on a temple baptismal recommend soon, just a few challenges in the way right now that we are working on.

Saturday: Known as the day Sister Rodda learned to sew AND to use a rotary cutter. We helped out at a service project and made hats, scarves, and mittens. After that we went to lunch with a recent convert and his great family! We got pizza. For some reason pizza was everyone's "go-to" this week. No complaints there. However, I thought it would be rude to take all the topping off and dip these gourmet pizzas in ranch... so I ate them normally. Mom, are you proud? (My dad always refused to buy me pizza because I would just eat the bread and sauce- sorry, that's what my taste buds enjoy!) We did some service later that day for a less active family and taught the young daughter who is going to be baptized soon. That night we contacted a few referrals and taught another less active family. The wife is a couponing queen and they always give us things they get for free. This week the special was body wash and those duo ice breaker things. They were a good tracting snack!

Sunday: I will keep this one short. It was stake conference. The best quote was, "If things aren't adding up in life then start subtracting."

Goals this week: Okay I am absolutely TERRIBLE at street contacting. I can tract hours on end but when it comes to street contacting I can't stop a single person. So whenever I saw someone on the street my goal this week was to STOP. Even if I didn't know what to say my goal was to plant my feet. It was really hard and pretty awkward at times. I know Heavenly Father put this one guy in our way just so I could be tested with my goal and I totally bombed it. My way of justifying it: At least I said hi and asked him how his day was going even though he didn't respond. It's so funny because people think if they don't look at you than we can't see them. It's like Coco and the hamster. "If I don't see you, you aren't there." I did stop one lady though and we even got a handshake. What a blessing- people think we are diseased or have cooties or something. Like, hello people of planet Earth, I am still a human being! Not some alien creature from planet Zod.

Something learned: One day I had this thought... I was in a good mood, singing hymns to myself (probably annoying Sister Bell- and making her headache worse) and then the thought came to me... "We choose to be happy. When we are upset, annoyed, mad, etc. we are only making ourselves miserable nobody else."

Additional Learning Experience: Sister Bell so kindly let me know that I talk in my sleep. Like how embarrassing. I guess one morning I was talking about cottage cheese... I don't even like cottage cheese. It would be one thing if it was like s'mores or donuts or dill pickle sunflower seeds... BUT COTTAGE CHEESE?! Gross.

All my love,

Sister Rodda.

Scripture Study

October 12, 2015
My dearest peeps,

These are the things I have learned from this past week: 
1. The Lord always provides. When we had nobody to teach we were given 6 referrals. 
2. Conversion is forever long and if nourished properly can increase rapidly. 
3. It is critical that God directs our path in order for us to accomplish all He has in store for us. Found in Proverbs 3:5-6 
4. Just because you are soaking wet, there is thunder and lightening, and 50 mile per hour winds doesn't mean people will let you in. President was inspired when he invited us all to get flu shots. They are working, haven't gotten sick yet. 
5. The ratio of times I have been offered drugs from my whole life to my mission life is 0:1. They were mushrooms too, by someone we thought was a great potential. Eh, I don't think so anymore. Oh and I said no. 
6. Being poor is not a sufficient reason for skipping Sweet Mona's on a Monday. It brings sunshine to the soul. 
7. Saying yes has it's downfalls when a hoarder invites you over for dinner. We prayed really hard for the 3 days prior to the appointment. God hears and answers our prayers- we are still alive.
8. Obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles and brownies. We won the obedience game at zone conference again. WOOT WOOT.

Proverbs 3: 5-6
I love the footnotes to this scripture and how it allows the meaning to go more in depth. The very first word is trust, we should trust in the Lord and not in ourselves. We should have faith in him. I also love the footnote "trustworthiness" because that can be applied to us. We need to be trustworthy so the lord can give us assignments/guidance. I also love how it says we need to trust with "all thine heart." We cannot just pick and choose when we obey or when we turn to God. "With all thine heart" means at all times, and in all things, and in all places we will trust God, exercise our faith in him, and be obedient to all his commandments. God's ways are so much greater than our ways and that is why it is critical we do not lean unto our own (worldly and blind) understanding. We can only see so much of Heavenly Father's plan and that is why we should put all of our faith in him rather in  our own limited understanding. As we humble ourselves and acknowledge the Lord in all things then he promises us that he will direct our paths. WHAT A PROMISE! I love the footnote for path. It says, "walking with God." Heavenly Father wants to help us so much just like any parent does for their child. However, he cannot help us and he cannot walk with us if we aren't worthy of his presence and if we aren't doing the basics. At my farewell talk I shared my "conversion story" and I want to share that again now because that is the time when I have seen this scripture so largely apply into my life. 

Once upon a time I was really, really into soccer. It was my whole life and first priority. Nothing came before soccer except school every once and a while. A mission had never crossed my mind. A mission was for boys after they had grown a foot or two. However, every once and a while the word "mission" would pop into my mind and I would just throw it into the junk file. But sooner or later it started to become more frequent thoughts. I think at one point I felt the spirit so strongly that I wrote on a program, "I want to quit soccer and go on a mission." I gently threw that to my mom in the middle of sacrament meeting when it would be quite inappropriate for a big gasp. But even then I still continued to throw it to the back of my mind, deny it, and think about all the future things I already had planned. Towards the end of October 2013 (which sounds like ages ago now) I started to become confused. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be doing and I had major decisions coming up in the next few months. I decided it was time to receive my patriarchal blessing. I wasn't expecting to be told what school to go to or what to study but I did expect to get a little bit of direction in my life. OH MY GOODNESS, my answer came much more clear than I ever wanted. I was told that I was to serve a mission. It wasn't the words I heard but it was the feeling I felt, it was a command to follow. And the worst part about it was I couldn't deny any of it. Especially because my parents were right there listening. My blessing helped me know which direction to go in. The following Sunday my dad gave me a missionary action figure that I think he stole from the nursery. And that's the moment I knew I was doomed. For once it wasn't all about me and what I wanted, but it was what the Lord had planned for me. For the next couple months I was still searching for some more confirmation- because you know, that wasn't a great enough sign or anything. Stubborn teenagers. One day my mom came downstairs to my room while I was doing homework and gave me a talk by Dallin H. Oaks. I don't know what it is about my mom but she has a sixth sense. And I don't know if all moms have this or if she is even more special than she already is but she always knows when something is wrong, when I am struggling, or when I need something and that day I needed this talk. It was titled "Good, Better, Best." In his talk he states, "We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives." So that's when I started to make prayer, scripture study, mutual, and other church meetings a priority in my life. This also helped me make the decision to get my young women's medallion even though I was already 18. After passing off some of the smaller and required values all I had to do was read the Book of Mormon. Night after night I read. You have to understand I HATE READING but I could not put it down. That's when I gained my own real testimony. At that point I didn't have to rely or depend on the testimonies of my parents (and my awesome brother!), leaders, friends, or other young women. I could rely on my own. And let me tell you that is the best feeling in the world. To me it was mind boggling that my foundation and my faith were based on the simple things. Before I knew it I was done filling out mission papers, I was opening my call to the Washington, Everett Mission and then I was reading this conversion story with 72 hours remaining before I left. And next month I will hit my year mark! 

I have always considered this my "conversion story" but really this is my "testimony story". I have only crossed the starting line of my conversion race of eternity. 

Previous to the knowledge I had of my family "Ponderizing" scripture, Sister Bell and I chose one of our own (I ponderized two scriptures this week!) It is Alma 17:31, "My brethren (or sisters, hehe) be of good cheer and let us go in search of the flocks, and we will gather them together and bring them back unto the place of water; and thus we will preserve the flocks unto the king..."

As I was thinking about this scripture and how it applied to me I remembered an experience I had in my last area. My companion and I were struggling to find investigators. We decided that we needed to fast. That day we were not trying to do missionary work (the Lord's work) on our own, we were doing it WITH the Lord. Just like Ammon said to the servants of the kind, "Be of good cheer, and let US go in search of the flocks," the Lord said the same to us in our hearts. That day we "gathered them together." We found two new investigators and got one of them on date. WE (the Lord and us- His servants) brought the one that was on date "back unto the place of water" where she was baptized. And "thus we are preserving her unto the king." She is now an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who surrounds herself with good people, good morals, and a great testimony. She is attending BYUI in the fall of 2016 and is considering serving a mission. 

Just like each of us she is on this eternal pathway of conversion. She humbled herself to the will of the Lord and allowed him to direct her paths. These paths were difficult at times and changed a lot of her lifestyle but nothing can bring as much joy or success as the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I am so grateful for all of you! I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOUUUUU!

Sister Rodda


October 5, 2015
Week of 9/28-10/4
So this week I just want to mention three things.
My companion, Sis Bell, of Idaho
First, Flu Shots. Can I just say those are of the devil! Literally, I think I would rather just have the flu. I had so much anxiety waiting for the shot that my arm hurt worse thinking about getting a shot than it did to have a needle stuck through my arm. The next day I felt as though my arm had been engulfed by the gaping jaws of a shark and it was dangling with nothing but shredded tendons hanging on for dear life. I am not being dramatic and I am not exaggerating. This is real life, folks. Pray for me. PS: My companion was bit by the same shark. Luckily we have both had time to heal and nothing is left but a giant transparent scar. Blessing do come to those with faith.
Second, walking. We walked like the pioneers this week. We were running low on miles so we traveled by foot. Luckily, it was good weather and we had some awesome members with extravagant handcarts. It was great to just enjoy the outdoors- while tracting house and street contacting- of course.
Third, General Conference! Like, um, where do I even begin????? I think I might need to write a book on all the special insights, personal revelation, and incredible quotes I found! October is just the best month.  And I am not biased. One of the greatest things I learned this week is that life is hard. It's supposed to be hard. And we need to prepare because it is only going to get harder. The Gospel is simple and we need to apply those small and simple things so that "great things are brought to pass." Trials are going to come but we need to decide NOW what we are going to do in those moments. Are we going to #HoldToTheRodda or are we going to let go and try to swim by ourselves?  
This week I had an experience that made me think about this:

We had just visited the Lewis Family at 7:30 PM. As we left their home and started walking down their long, curvy driveway we realized we could not see a thing. With no street lights, no moon glow, and lots of trees it was pitch black and extremely quiet. I couldn't see my shoes right below me. As we tried to shuffle down the dirt driveway we found ourselves walking into bushes, tree stumps, pot holes, and even each other... This can be related to each of us here on Earth. Because Heavenly Father loves us he gave us the opportunity to come to Earth. Here, we are to "have joy and prepare to return to God's presence." However, it can be very difficult. Because "we are out of God's physical presence, we must walk by faith rather than by sight." Heavenly Father gives us tools like prayer, scripture study, families, and prophets so that we can walk by faith with "an eye single to the glory" Him.
What we do with those tools is our agency. The night before we visited the Lewis Family we were given a flashlight by some members in our ward. This would have worked perfectly as we were walking down their driveway but conveniently enough we left it in the car. We pulled our very extremely nice cell phone only to realize that it was bright enough to leave our eyes with white spots but not bright enough to light our path. It seemed to make it worse. This also happens here in our Earth life. Satan is so good at deceiving us. He uses attractive things that seem like they will get the job done. But really this is his way of keeping us from using the greater tools Heavenly Father has given us- flashlights. My dear companion is oh so smart. She pulled out the car keys and unlocked it. The lights would flash once or twice and we would have a destination to head towards. This is like the talk given by Vern P. Stanfill. "While we are struggling in the darkness, there is nothing wrong with relying temporarily upon the light of those who love us and have our best interest at heart." That person who loves us can be our Savior. The greatest tool that Heavenly Father has given us. The Atonement is the greatest light. That is always there for us. It doesn't take away our personal agency. We have to choose to apply it. But when we do, we can make it to the car- or the Celestial Kingdom.
I know Thomas S. Monson is a man called by God to share with us the things God wants us to know. The counsel given by prophets and apostles is counsel given by our Loving Heavenly Father! I know the church is true! #HoldToTheRodda
Have a great week! I love you all!

Sister Rodda