November 23, 2015
November 16- November 22
Monday: Monday was the best day ever. Actually I don't know about the best day ever but it was great because I got to play sports for the first time in 4+ months. Took second place in a game of lightening or whatever that basketball game is called and my team won in a real (half court- no score keeping) game. Don't ask how I know we won. BUT GUESS WHAT?! I HIT 2 HALF COURT SHOTS IN A ROW. MY BACK WAS A LITTLE SORE THE NEXT DAY BUT IT SERIOUSLY HAPPENED IN REAL LIFE. Then we came home to a nice surprise and I won't be saying what that is but I do have quite a story to tell in 6 months. That night we taught our cute little family and it went really well. We read in Jacob which Jacob- the boy we are teaching- found quite amusing because they have the same name. Whatever connects you to the scriptures is good I guess. We had an appointment with another investigator, J, and no she didn't "cancel" we just "rescheduled", But that was a real bummer.
Tuesday: Craziest day ever. Literally. We had studies and time in the morning and then we went to interviews. Every other transfer we have interviews with our mission president FYI. So we show up at 11:45 and at noon the power goes out. It was pouring rain (not the normal, constant Washington sprinkle) and SUPER windy. All the power was out, traffic lights, church lights- including the emergency lights- all the stores, apartments, houses. It was scary. I thought it was the second coming... but it was just a false alarm. It got me to repent though so it was worth it. We ended up staying at the church from 12-6 and had our instruction and individual interviews in rooms lit by flash lights. Dad, those head lamps really did come in handy! People weren't making fun of me at this time. Be prepared, people, it's the scouts motto. On the bright side (no pun intended) we did get out of our instruction. Because the lack of time management of some elders (I personally think it was a strength this time) we weren't able to give our 15 minutes of instruction on "Using Preach My Gospel Effectively in Personal Study." Unfortunately we got a call tonight from our district leader asking us to give FIVE TO TEN (woo-woo) minutes of instruction in our meeting on Wednesday. This time it's about setting goals. We had an appointment set up with our investigator, Reymundo, and our zone leaders for a baptismal interview at 7. Well 7:30 came and went and they weren't there. I was freaking out of course because our day was weird in the first place and that's just my internal composition. If he didn't get interviewed that day he couldn't have gotten baptized on Saturday because they were going out of town until Friday. Anyway, all four of us (me- I said it, Sister Johnson, and the zone leaders) prayed. I prayed that if anything they would look at their phone to get our missed calls. Well guess what they answered our next call and they rushed down to the church, had the interview, PASSED, and it was so cute... our zone leader said that Reymundo in his closing prayer thanked Heavenly Father that he heard the phone ringing and that he answered it so he could get to his interview. He also prayed for the Seahawks but we won't mention that one. I know that God really does here and answer our prayers. He truly is a God of miracles.

Wednesday: On Wednesday we were able to do service for a family in our ward! They take care of us and we love them. We helped dig out all the Christmas decorations. I LOVE CHRISTMAS. But don't worry I am not celebrating until after Thanksgiving, I think. The rest of the day we just visited people. Active, less active, potentials, former investigators, random people, etc. We also had dinner with the relief society. They gave us SO many left overs. We are still trying to eat all of it.
Thursday: Thursday we were on exchanges. I actually got to go Spanish again for a day and it was really great. Nothing went as planned but if there is something I have learned on my mission it is this: If your schedule goes as planned, you are doing something wrong. It was great though because we were able to do service at a food bank and a local church. We moved a bunch of food. Anyway, we had dinner that night... it was all in Spanish... except the food... we had chicken nuggets. It has been awhile since I have had chicken nuggets. I missed them. My "companion" Hermana Fifita taught me how to bear my testimony in Spanish so I contributed a little bit at the end of our message.
Friday: Typical day. Weekly Planning and visiting people. We did talk to some great people though. I love Mukilteo... especially those on Casino Road.
Saturday: REY GOT BAPTIZED!!!!! It was so great and Reymundo was glowing. :) His whole family (who are investigators) came and supported him, as well as his not-interested soon-to-be step-dad and his son. It was a great turn out and it was spiritual and uplifting. I am so proud of him for making this decision but I know that Heavenly Father is even more proud because it is one step closer to Him. After the baptism we taught a recent convert/less active family. They are going through a really difficult time because their baby was born 6 months early and weighed 1.3 pounds. It has been 3 months now but the baby hasn't been home and they haven't been able to hold her. It is so sad but God has a plan for everyone and that's why it is critical that we are converted... so we don't have to question, we just put our faith in God. We also taught another less active couple... he actually used to be the ward mission leader last year. They are hilarious though. I never fail to cry from laughter while I am there.
Sunday: We had meetings. Ward council, church, missionary correlation, and studies. Usually all of that fills up our day. We did get to go to a "Come See for Yourself" fireside with Reymundo and his family. We can only go to these meetings if we have an investigator and a ride. It was great though. They are so spiritually uplifting. Recent converts speak and they show video clips, and there are musical numbers. We only had to sing once, thank heavens. Oh and yes, we are speaking in church next Sunday if that wasn't a surprise to anyone! My topic is "gaining a testimony." Oh my goodness how could I forget... Reymundo was confirmed! We love him.
Today: Not much to say about today other than the fact that somehow bleach got all over a load of laundry I did... it's great. Practicing positive thoughts: At least it wasn't my shoes. Oh and today we only have a 2 hour P-day. Thursday is our real Preparation Day... but no emailing. It's confusing.
Ponderizing: Hayden I loved this scripture this week and I loved studying and sharing it with Reymundo. Thank you so much for choosing that scripture. I love and miss you!

I spaced sharing a miracle a few weeks ago with all of you! While I was in Burlington with Sister Wawro we tracted into a lady named A. We talked on her front porch for a few minutes and then she invited us in. We were going through the pamphlet and got to the first page about God is our Heavenly Father and she just started to cry and cry and cry. She had never thought of God as a father figure and she never really knew her dad and her daughters don't really have a dad either. Well we started to teach her and then she introduced us to her youngest daughter, M. You have probably heard about M but I spent 7 1/2 months teaching M while I was there. I love her so much and I would say she is one of my greatest friends. She struggled with a lot of things but we knew we needed to keep teaching her. Remember, that while I was there I had 8 companions. She had a lot of missionaries in her home. While teaching M we met her older sister Z. Z had an anti-mormon boyfriend and he wasn't very nice. He even tried to give us $100 to say a bad word. lol. Anyway, Z was always standoffish but towards the end of my time there we started talking to her more, she started sitting in our lessons with M, and she even addressed her concerns. She wanted to feel worthy to pray, worthy for heaven, she wanted to understand more about Joseph Smith and she decided she wanted to learn more. Well she turned 18 and graduated from High School while I was serving there so we passed her off to the YSA elders. I found out 2 weeks ago that Z was baptized. This whole time we thought we were going there for M (which we were-and we still have hope for her) but truly Z was the one prepared to receive the restored gospel. And I don't know for sure but rumor has it that she is engaged to the ward mission leader in the YSA ward. AHHHHHHHHH. Hope it's a nice ring. ;)
Well, folks, that's a wrap. I love you all and I am so grateful for each of you. I truly know that God hears and answers our prayers. I know that there are prepared people out there that only YOU can help. I know that pleading with the Lord allows you to be more aware of those opportunities and he is going to help you when you are in the great situation to bear your testimony. I know that God is our LOVING Heavenly Father. I know that the gospel truly does bless families.

Sister Rodda

Rainy Days

November 16, 2015

Well I don't think it ever stopped raining this week. EVER. It just went on and on and on. Thank goodness for hats, gloves, scarves, coats, rain boots, wool socks, fleece tights, waterproof mascara, random people who give us their umbrellas, and a companion you can have hilarious conversations with. There are a few benefits to this like the lack of effort you have to put into your hairdo and the greater number of pockets to carry snacks in. There is only one potential downfall though: people who spray us by driving in puddles. However, they don't seem to understand that we can't get any more wet than we already are. When you walk for hours in the rain you come to a point where there is no more water you can store. I am not a camel, people! 

Reymundo is getting baptized on Saturday! He is 12 years old and is SO great! He is more golden than... gold. I think one of the greatest opportunities we have as missionaries is to see these commitment keeping investigators radiate with the Light of Christ. It is the greatest experience to see them light up when they get a new insight or understand something they didn't before. His mom is GREAT. She would get baptized tomorrow but she has to get married and the boyfriend is taking his sweet time to commit. You can't take a joy ride on the repentance pathway. 

David: We stopped by a members home this week to meet them personally and they just so happened to have their nonmember neighbor over for games. You can't tell me that wasn't inspired. His name is David and he is from England. Basically he is bound to become a member he just needs a faith in God first. We invited him to church for the primary program but his reply was (remember the accent), "I have to do a scientific study on the inside of my eyelids." DAVID, THIS IS AMERICA. WE CALL IT SLEEPING AND BEING LAZY SO GET TO CHURCH. He chose to do the experiment instead. This week we are going to stop by and help him have a desire to come.

I really do love being a missionary. I love this part of the vineyard Heavenly Father has trusted Sister Johnson and I with. There are so many great people.  Just a little example: There are a few nonmembers that pay tithing every time they receive income LIKE WHAT?! I truly am grateful that I have been assigned here. I am not going to go through my whole week because it consisted of visiting members and tracting and street contacting and rain.

I love you all,

Sister Rodda

Welcome to Mukilteo!

November 9, 2015

Wowzers what a week. LONGEST WEEK IN THE HISTORY OF EVER. This one has got a journal entry and all which is saying a lot. Stay tuned for it.

Monday: Preparation Day- Basically Packingation Day. I had to pack all day and we had to three-pack(ify) our apartment. It was a little hectic but we got it all taken care of. Enough of the boring P-day wait until you hear the rest of the week.

Tuesday: MY BABY IS ALL GROWN UP! Don’t worry everyone I didn’t actually have a baby, that’s just the term you use when you train a new missionary. BUT TUESDAY WAS SISTER BELL’S VERY LAST DAY OF TRAINING! She is so ready for this new transfer and she is going to do great taking over the area! So transfers happened. First of all my new companion is from Magna, UT and her name is Sister Johnson! She is so sweet and has a great testimony. This is going to be an interesting transfer but I have never been so ready for a challenge! We actually white washed into the area which means that two previous elders were taken out and Sister Johnson and I were put in. We are the first sisters to live in this apartment EVER. You can tell it has been lived in by boys since 1992 (that’s the last date we have record of). It looks a lot better now, so does all of the records. It has been CRAZZZYYYY. Just imagine for a second the most rural place you can think of. Houses every mile or two, long dirt driveways, lots of land, horses, trees… yes that was South Whidbey. Now picture the typical city. HUNDREDS of apartment complexes with THOUSANDS of occupied apartments, traffic, honking horns, people walking on the sidewalks, people crossing the road in the busy traffic… that’s where we are. It is quite a different dynamic. Everyone wants to go to a foreign country on their mission but shoot, we have 60 different countries within our small area. We have met people from all over the world: Cambodia, Fiji, Egypt, Russia, and all over the place. I think we have more copies of the Book of Mormon in languages other than English.

Wednesday: This morning we woke up and did our studies. It was weird to do all of our studies in the morning before district meeting. On the Island we always had to catch the ferry so our studies were pushed back. Anyway, we did studies and then went to district meeting. WE HAVE A HUGE DISTRICT. 7 sisters (including my baby Sister Bell!), and 4 elders. It is great to hear so many different perspectives and ideas. We went grocery shopping after district meeting- got some food and hangers because I didn’t have enough in my new apartment. Then we came home and called all the auxiliary leaders to set up appointments. We wanted to meet with each of them to see how we could help and take a load off of their shoulders. Then we went and visited some members, had dinner, and then saw more members.  We got a referral out of it so it had to have been worth it! We also had a meeting with our Ward Mission Leader. He is great and we are so excited to work with him!

Thursday: Today felt like a total of 824 hours. LONGEST DAY EVER. We had a meeting with our relief society president right after our studies and it was wonderful! She gave us a whole list of sisters to visit in the ward. We spent the whole day trying to contact members. We don’t know who is active, less active, semi active, anything. It’s fun. It’s like a game of Guess Who! We had a lesson with an investigator family planned but they canceled. The son was supposed to get baptized this Saturday. AHHHH. STRESS. But he didn’t show up to church so we are going to postpone it a little bit. We actually have an appointment with them tonight. But overall it has been a good few days. Not sure if I will ever get used to the apartment complexes though. I don’t like when the visitor parking is filled. OR that we have to look up names in a directory at the complex just to call them so they can unlock the door. It is hard to explain. OH AND LOTS AND LOTS OF STAIRS.

Friday: WEEKLY PLANNING TO THE MAX. It took up most of our day. It is hard to plan for an area that neither of you know. We had to reorganize some things but we feel so much better about the area and we are ready to work, work, and work this week.

Saturday; Saturday went by pretty quickly. We spent most of the day at a Roots Tech Family History Thingy (the thingy isn’t actually part of the name I just can’t remember what the rest of the title is). We just helped people get to the correct classes and answered some questions, we got free cookies too. We stayed in most of the night to read through the former investigators in our area book. We actually have a whole separate binder for them because there are so many. We found some great people that we are excited to meet!

Sunday: Well we had ward council early in the AM. It was wonderful to already report on some of the names Sister Jensen (Relief Society President) had given us. We are off to a good start in the ward, folks. We were also asked to say the prayers in sacrament meeting. So when sacrament meeting came, that’s what we did. Then we went to Gospel Principles class where our Ward Mission Leader taught. There was only a few in there. We are teaching next week though so more people better come! ;) During relief society we introduced ourselves and made an announcement. This is critical. We as missionaries come to members’ homes for dinner to strengthen their faith and help them with their missionary efforts. It is ONE HOUR of coordinating efforts and suggesting and receiving new ideas. IT IS NOT ABOUT THE FOOD. Missionaries are not starving to death. We have food in the apartment and we have a specific amount of money to spend each month. We eat at members’ homes to hasten the work of salvation. And to reiterate… ONE HOUR. Half way through the meeting we went into Primary to talk to the 10 year olds about how the Gospel is in all the world. We shared about all the languages the Book of Mormon is translated into and where all of our friends, relatives, neighbors, cousins, are serving. WE KNOW PEOPLE EVERYWHERE! After the block we had a meeting with our Ward Mission Leader. Then a meeting with our Bishop. Then a meeting with Sister Carter the Young Women’s President. We are going to talk to the laurels next Sunday to get them out working with us. We had dinner at the Bishop’s house and then had our studies! Loving it here in the Pacific Northwest! It has been rainy but it hasn’t struck us with lightning, it isn’t slowing us down.

I was telling Sister Johnson yesterday how weird I feel this week. I have so many things to be stressed about or so many reasons to be frustrated for whatever it may be but I AM JUST SO HAPPY. It’s weird. I am just so excited this transfer. I told President Bonham and the Lord (of course) that I am ready to work harder than ever this transfer. Just “trying a little harder to be a little better.” Everyone says the last 6 months of your mission are the prime time. Although, I still feel brand new I feel like I finally know what to do and HOW to do it. I am ready to put it into effect. Because of the disobedience of some previous missionaries, we are really striving to gain the trust of the members. Having exactly 1 hour dinners, returning and reporting on the assignments they give us, and going the extra mile. The work of members and missionaries should not be parallel but should intertwine. They are both good efforts separately but together they are exceptionally great--- invincible.

There are so many people out here in the world that NEED the Gospel. We do not know who is prepared and who isn’t. We don’t know who is behind the door that we are about to knock on but Heavenly Father does. Those are His children. OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS. Open your mouths and share what you know. The success comes in the invite. Give them the opportunity to accept or reject because they have agency. Don’t just pray for opportunities but PLEAD for opportunities. Plead for the ability to recognize those opportunities. Heavenly Father will give them to you. Once you have a missionary experience, share it with others. It gets them excited and they will do the same… it is contagious because it is the greatest work on the earth.

I love you all, xo

Sister Rodda

20, Flu, Investigator - Oh my!

November 2, 2015
Week of October 26th to NOVEMBER (WHAT?!) 1st.
This has been quite the week... from 20th birthday to stomach flu to a new investigator (details to come). But on the bright side I am over my quarter-life crisis, I am no longer sick, and we still have that investigator.
Monday: Preparation Day. SEEMS LIKE AGES AGO. My first companion (actually my MTC companion, Sister Mather, from New Zealand) used that phrase all the time and ironically enough I hadn't heard that phrase in ages so I took it upon myself to use it. Well anyway, on that day we emailed and got Mona's. I treated myself to extra because it was my birthday the next day. Then we went shopping for a bit. We made ourselves some delicious pasta for dinner. And then headed to our first less active lesson of the week. It went well and we talked about conversion. Oh by the way, parents, I couldn't wait until Tuesday to open my presents so I kind of opened them on Monday. hehe. :/
Tuesday: Sister Bell and I made a great breakfast. I don't know if it quite compared to the traditional crepes but it was good enough. We made Lehi Roller Mill muffins and "Eggs ala Golden Rodda." You can get the recipe from me later. It is our specialty. We did a weed and feed in the afternoon. Basically we do gardening work and then eat afterward. We did it for a less active member and it was fun. Surprisingly good weather. We taught another less active that afternoon and then headed to dinner. We went to our Ward Mission Leader’s house and he was preparing burgers- they looked good. But then walked in our good ol' friend who specially made MY Shepard's Pie. For those who don't know, I only get this meal once a year because everyone else in my family hates it. I think that's why I like it so much. Not only did this member make Shepard's Pie but she made like 10000 different s'mores desserts. It was heaven. And she even surprised me more by giving me presents that Momma J and Poppa Husky sent me (EVERYONE, THEY WERE TOMS!) We met with a few more people after dinner and then it was headed home. Days go by so quickly as a missionary but by the next day things SSSLLLOOWWEEDDDDDD DOWNN.
TOMS Rainboots!!
Wednesday: Sure enough I woke up in the middle of night because I felt sick. Before I knew it I was throwing up. YAYAYAYAY- that's my favorite. JUST FOR THE RECORD IT WAS NOT THE SHEPARD'S PIE. We had district meeting that morning and I did okay through it. When we got back to the Island we did our studies and then it was time for our FIRST dinner. We went to a semi-active couple’s home. After an hour we traveled to our SECOND dinner. (Please remember I currently but unknowingly have the stomach flu.) This was with a recent convert and his nonmember brother and sister-in-law. The dinner was great. The brother and sister-in-law had lots of great questions about missions but made it clear they weren't interested. We were able to share a message and say a couple prayers so I guess that is a success. By this time at night my stomach was KILLING ME, but we headed straight to an appointment with our bishop.
Thursday: LEVEL C DAY #1 Thursday was a crummy day. Because I was sick and didn't feel well, our mission doctor put me on "level C" which means I needed to sleep in, have a long lunch (get out in the afternoon if at all possible) and come in early at night. We didn't get a lot done. We had to cancel one appointment. But we did go to dinner. At first I was okay with it because we were going to a cafe where I could get soup but it was closed so we ended up going to a Chinese restaurant. That was the last thing my stomach needed. We had two other appointments that night that we were able to go to. One to a less active couple and one to a recent convert family. They went well. I have never been so grateful for a companion who took control of the whole lesson. Sister Bell did AMAZING. She is a great teacher and she testifies with power. In the mean time I was a little out of it and just sat there and nodded my head. On the bright side, our Zone Leaders and our District Leader and his companion all came into our area this day to help us. They ended up teaching a guy and he is our new investigator! We haven't met him yet but we have a lesson this upcoming Friday.
Friday: LEVEL C DAY #2- LAME. Slept in, did studies, slept for a few hours, had a lesson with our returning less active, went to an hour of the Halloween party, and went home. Being sick is the worst, but being sick as a missionary is even worse. I felt so disobedient the whole day while I was laying in bed. And on top of it we didn't get a lot done this week because I was so sick.
Saturday: LEVEL C DAY #3. Saturday we were able to get out a little bit more. We were able to figure out where a referral lived, tried to contact another referral but he wasn't home, we taught a less active couple, and had dinner. Then we headed home. BUT NOT BECAUSE I WAS SICK THIS TIME! We had to be in at 5:00 on Halloween so that's when we did our weekly planning and cleaned up a bit.
Sunday: Ward council, set up chairs, greeted everyone, and started church. We had one of the best fast and testimony meetings. The spirit was great. Sister Bell and I both shared our testimonies. After sacrament meeting, we had the wonderful opportunity to teach Gospel Principles on eternal marriage. I was especially grateful to give instruction on this topic because we are professionals at this. There is a statistic that a companionship of missionaries who are together for two transfers spend more time together than a newlywed couple of two years. We have got this down.
BIG NEWS: I am getting transferred. I am really sad to be leaving the Island but it is comforting to know that Heavenly Father is over all and he knows exactly what is best. I am not sure where I will be going or who I will be with until tomorrow. But interestingly enough I know that South Whidbey will be in a three-pack (three sisters) which means that Sister Bell will be taking over the area AND getting TWO new companions. She will do great and it truly shows how much Heavenly Father trusts his children! I am so excited for her! And I am excited to see where I am headed.
PONDERIZING: Hayden, I loved your choice of Doctrine and Covenants 98:1. I felt like it was a great way to get us ready for November. Counting our blessings and really giving thanks is an easy way to find true and lasting happiness. It comforts our hearts to give thanks. Too often we look over these small instances of blessings or answers to prayers and fail to recognize them as miraculous miracles. The ponderizing scripture I chose for week Nov 2- Nov 8 is Mosiah 3:19. "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." 
Today I feel as though I need to bear my testimony on my Savior, Jesus Christ. This transfer Sister Bell and I had the great opportunity to really focus on the Atonement. While the congregation was singing in sacrament meeting yesterday these lyrics really stood out to me: "Let me not forget, oh Savior, Thou didst bleed and die for me." Because of this transfer I cannot forget the knowledge I have of Jesus Christ. Our purpose as missionaries is to invite others to come unto Christ and this transfer I truly believe that I invited myself to come unto Christ. He took upon Himself our pains of sin, trials, weaknesses, struggles, and heartbreaks. He willingly experienced those things because he didn't know what it was like to go through them. He suffered so we don't have to suffer alone. I know these things because I have diligently studied the scriptures, consistently pondered them, and sincerely prayed to my Heavenly Father. He answered my prayer by allowing the Holy Ghost to touch my heart and He helped me recognize the truth I felt by enlightening my mind.
I love you all. THANK YOU FOR ALL THE BIRTHDAY WISHES, PRAYERS, AND SUPPORT. They mean so much more than you will ever know!
Sister Rodda