Howard W. Hunter

December 28, 2015

Today I wanted to share with you my favorite quote from Howard W. Hunter! He stated in his last public address:

Mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.

I love how simple yet profound this statement is. As I have thought about it over the last week it is incredible how much it applies in our day to day life!

Ponderizing: not sure if it's my week but I took over. Acts 12:8 (to understand better read "bind on thy sandals" from Howard W. Hunter) IT'S ABOUT SHOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sister Rodda


December 22, 2015
It has been such an amazing week. Filled with blessings and amazing people. We met a less active member named Shauna. At first she was really stand offish and short with us but we connected in the fact that she taught 3rd grade (so does Momma J) and by the end we had some pretty incredible conversations and she has a desire to come back to church. We also helped a part member family move out of their house this week! I love doing service but I never want to move.  We got three new investigators this week. One is a guy named Adam. He is very very very intelligent and he knows about the church- almost too much. He did a report on mormonism in college and instead of looking up online he  decided to search it out by reading the Book of Mormon and attending church. He now wants to study it for religion and not to get an A in the class. His girlfriend (who he has been living with for 10 years) is really... not interested. She doesn't like us. We also met a cute couple. Jeremiah and Jorjanna. They  have a 2 year old daughter... also not married. They have taken the lessons  before and we are starting to teach them again. Jeremiah is literally a twin of Justin Farnsworth- look the same, talk the same, and like the  same things. I haven't been around Justin a lot but it is WEIRDDDDD. We also taught four other less actives that  day. Our other investigator- Maria, Adolfo, Reymundo, Jacob, and Bart- are doing well, still working on the law of chastity issue. There is a theme in our investigators- NOT MARRIED. Jodi (an investigator) is doing alright. We haven't been able to meet with her in a while. Abraham and Isaac (investigators- brothers) are doing well. It is hard to teach them because their parents aren't helping or changing their ways but they come to church every week! We also have some amazing potentials that will hopefully be investigators this week. Here is the  run down of them:
Francis: He is from Africa, speaks French, has a wife and at least two kids. Super nice and really interested. There is just a slight language barrier. Good thing we have supplies in French and members in the ward who can speak it as well.
Valerie: Comes to church every week, had dinner with her in a members home, pays tithing, her ex husband is a member. She is so great and we call her every week. We are closer and closer to  teaching her!
the Marsh family: John (the dad) is a less active and the rest of his family are nonmembers. They had a really PRETTY Christmas decorated house so we told them they  had "house of the year." They liked us after that and we are going to see them again this week!
Susan: We received a  referral for her this week. We stopped by and she was busy so we set up a time to meet this Wednesday at 3. :)
Lisa: Came to the relief society dinner and the ward party. She is best friends with a member and this member introduced us to her!

People get so caught up in the present buying, food making, plan setting, travel timing that we forget that Christmas is even possible because of Christ. I feel so blessed to be able to spend Christmas in the mission field not only once, but twice. We as missionaries (not to brag or anything) don't have to worry about all the stressful aspects of the Holiday season. We have one day a week to shop- if we even think about buying anything. We as missionaries have the great opportunity to really focus on the true meaning of Christmas. However, we have an even greater opportunity to invite people to slow down during the busy and crowded season of Christmas and to focus on why it is even possible to celebrate. I love Christmas time. I love how the world is able to take time to give, to love, to spend quality time together, and to really reflect on the life and ministry of our Savior. As I have pondered these things over the last week I have also thought about motivation. The Holidays give us motivation to reach out, to share, and to serve. At the start of the new year we have motivation to be more healthy, be more organized, and budget well. At the beginning of a new school semester we are more motivated to use time wisely, get good grades, and attend all of our classes. We also receive motivation to do missionary work, to have good study habits, and to become better people as we listen to General Conference. When mission presidents hold a conference for missionaries they leave feeling more motivated to be obedient, to talk with everyone, and a greater desire to do the Lord's will. Why does it take these kinds of situations to make us feel motivated? How can we continue to feel these motivational changes throughout the day, the week, and the year so that our resolutions will last longer than a month? Is it our love, our compassion, and our humility that motivate us? Or is it greediness, envy, and peer influence that motivate us? In the Book of Mormon, Alma is grieving because of the iniquity of his people so he declares that his sons should be gathered so he can give each of them some commandments. He tells his son Helaman of their past ancestors who we know as Lehi (and his family) when they were traveling from Jerusalem to the Promised Land with the Liahona (a compass that worked by exercising faith). In Alma 37: 40,41,43 it says, "And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day. Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey... for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual." The biggest thing that motivates us is ourselves. It is literally an inner drive that causes us to act and it is all caused because we set goals whether we actually mean to or not. During the Christmas time we recognize that there are people who are suffering so we make a goal to help others or to be nice. At the New Year we set goals to change, same for school. After General Conference and meetings with the mission president we set goals on how we can improve. Goal setting is great but we can't wait until the end of the year or the end of our missions to reflect on the outcome of those goals because we will only come to realize that we "forgot to exercise our faith and diligence... and  we did not progress in our journey." One of the greatest gifts Heavenly Father has blessed us with is agency. Sometimes we become slothful and we forget to exercise faith in the goal we have set, but the greatest part about agency is we can choose to exercise that faith the next day. Motivation will come as we really put effort into the goals we set. Short term goals- that are measurable and attainable. Not goals that have to wait 365 days to be acknowledged. And I am definitely not against bribery. Bribes are great incentives. ;)

I love you so much and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!!! xoxoxooxoxxo

Sister Rodda

Study Time

December 14, 2015

December is definitely a special time of year. It goes by really, really fast with all the activities and celebrations but I love how it all revolves around Christ. Without the Savior there would be no Christmas. This week I had the opportunity to give instruction by myself (couldn't rely on my companion when I got stuck, lol) at Zone Meeting.  It was on the Atonement. I was instructed to study it as though I was teaching to someone who had never heard of or doesn't understand the Atonement. I loved this because the majority of the world has never heard of the Atonement.  That word is used like once, twice, three times tops in the bible? That was a great study to really focus on the basics and how we can apply it more fully in our lives. We also had the Ward Christmas Party and it was wonderful to mingle with members, lots of nonmembers, and less actives! We also had a stake sing-along Sunday night and it was great to feel the spirit through music. It is amazing to me how quickly and powerfully music fills our soul and controls our mood/attitude. It can be so uplifting and encouraging or it can make you feel miserable and angry. 

Before coming out on a mission it was really hard for me to read missionary emails because they were so "preachy" or just straight testimonies and that just didn't interest me. But beware, that is what I do nowadays. Anyway, I have been studying a lot about Howard W Hunter because that is the relief society/priesthood thing for next year. It has been so cool to just connect with the family. It's like I have known him my whole life. It was also really cool to see a picture of my great - great grandparents in the booklet and read about my great-Grandma Dorothy. Funny to see how all the family connects.  Did you know that he sold shoes for a while as a job? That's my kinda man! :) And he was a prophet - so that is even cooler. Haha.

I hope you all have a great week! :) xoxo

Sister Rodda

Best Week Ever!

December 7, 2015

Week of November 30- DECEMBER 6! I would be lying if I said this wasn't the best week of my whole mission. It was pretty high up there on the chart of "great weeks as a missionary." I think this might be a long email so I will keep the "not-so-important" things short. ;)

Monday: P-day and an amazing lesson with our investigator M! It was filled with the Spirit and we were able to feel just a fraction of the love Heavenly Father has for each of his children. When people make choices that seem insurmountable and difficult to the world to put their loving Heavenly Father first is an indescribable feeling and brings the greatest and most spiritual joy. One that is hard to describe but easy to recognize.

Tuesday: Today was literally one of the best days I have had in the mission field. It was busy but yet it was full of reflection on the improvement and the progress I have made in the last year. It is hard as a missionary (or as human) to see the long term changes that take part in our lives. We started the day by doing service for a cute less active family in the ward. Then we had a lesson with a less active member. We had the relief society president come with us and it was a great lesson. We were able to testify of the Atonement and how Christ has us "written upon the palms of his hands." Then we had time. I love the new Christmas Initiative "A Savior is Born" I think I watched it 50 times in that hour. Afterwards we went to Activity Days and taught the cute girls about how service as a missionary has blessed us and those we have served. We were supposed to help them sew some things but really they just taught me and I pretended I knew what I was doing. We had dinner with a less active member and then we went to mutual. We had a question/answer session with the priests and they could ask whatever the heck they wanted. It was really fun and I learned so much about how missions change you, affect you, and strengthen you. One of the most profound things I learned or was taught (by one of the Young Men Advisors) is that missionaries spend so much time thinking and wishing and praying for their families. They spend so much time focused on the things back home, then they finish their full-time mission, see their family for 5 minutes, and then they stop missing them. At that moment they realize that they don't have that mission ever again and they can't go back. It is okay to miss your family because that means you love them, but you should strive to "forget yourself and go to work" because you will have eternity to spend with them. Don't worry family, I still miss you. We also had a meeting with the Bishop and our Ward Mission Leader that night to discuss... stuff.

Wednesday: We had district meeting and it was great! I love all the missionaries in our district, I think it's the biggest district in the mission too. Afterwards we had a lesson with a less active who is dealing with a tragedy that took place the day before Thanksgiving. It was great to bear testimony of the Plan of Salvation and the knowledge and comfort it brings.

Thursday: We did  most of our weekly planning this day and spent the day contacting potentials and formers. We had a lesson with Maria, Adolfo, Reymundo, and Jacob (our investigator  family- expect Rey  is a recent convert). We brought two young men with  us to the lesson and they were great fellowship. Maria decided she wanted a blessing so we called two other men (ward mission leader and a member of the bishopric) and they came and gave her the sweetest blessing. It was a very powerful testimony. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost.

Friday: We had a multi-zone conference with Elder Johnson of the 70 majority of the day. I had to say the opening prayer, I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous to pray in front of a member of the 70, half the mission, and our mission presidency. He shared lots of amazing insights about the nature of the Godhead. The most significant reason the first vision was needed was to prove that Heavenly Father has a body of flesh and bone that is tangible. He isn't just some big mass of goodness (which was being taught by all the religions during this time period), he has a perfected, glorified body. He told us that majority of us testify of this from a borrowed testimony and invited us to ask Heavenly Father five questions so we know for ourselves:
1. Do you exist? (Are you really there? Are you listening?)
2. Do you have a body of flesh and bones?
3. Do you know me? (Do you know I am serving a mission? Did you know I am struggling with this difficult situation?)
4. Am I really your daughter? (Are you really my father?)
5. Heavenly Father, do you love me? (even with all my imperfections? and weaknesses?)
As I prayed I was overwhelmed with the spirit and received my answers in the most simple but profound way. I can testify that Heavenly Father truly does have body, parts, and passions. HE LOVES EACH OF HIS CHILDREN IMMENSELY.

Saturday: We spend the day contacting. We love the people here in Everett and Mukilteo. We truly are so blessed. We also did service and helped put up and decorate a Christmas tree with HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of ornaments. It really felt like Christmas to me. Oh and when we left dinner (in a nearby apartment complex) we realized our car had been hit. The person left nothing but blue paint and scratches on our car. I still love that son or daughter of God wherever they may be and I would love to tell them that the Atonement allows us to repent and be forgiven our mistakes.  It's not like it was the first accident that was caused from parking, hehehe...hehe...he.

Sunday: SO MANY MIRACLES. We had meetings in the morning and then church. I love fast Sunday and even though it is still really hard for me to fast (because my blood gets really low) I am grateful for the ability to fast and have a greater spiritual sensitivity. We had a less active come to church with an arranged ride. As well as the less active family who recently lost their daughter. We had a man come to church- long story but we tracted into this family and they were a new move in of members. The wife was nice but doesn't want anything to do with the church but the husband came!  We also had a nonmember (not quite an investigator) come to church! After church we had more meetings, studies, and then we watched the Christmas Devotional. That was such a miracle because we could only watch it with an investigator, less active, or recent covert. We had planned to watch it with an investigator but she cancelled at 3:30 and it was broadcast at 5 here in WA. So we texted a whole bunch of people and an investigator that we had never met said we could come so we were able to watch it with her!

One of the greatest realizations I had this week is that Jesus Christ is our friend. Our ponderizing scripture "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me" had a footnote that takes us to Zechariah 13:6. "And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends." We all know that Jesus Christ is our brother. We know this because each of us are children of God. However, Jesus Christ our Savior, our Redeemer, our Exemplar CHOOSES to be our friend. Me and Hayden are siblings inevitably, but me and Hayden are friends intentionally. The same goes for each of us and our relationship with Christ. I love the comfort it brings to know that Christ is my brother. I love even more that he is my friend, and your friend. But it brings the most comfort to know that he CHOSE to be our friend with all of our imperfections and weaknesses.

I am grateful for the Christmas season and the joy it brings into the lives of God's children. To me it is wonderful that so many people, worldwide, desire to celebrate the birth of our Savior. He is our greatest example, our brother, and our friend. I know that as we turn to our Lord we can become happy, we can be forgiven, and we can have our burdens made light.

I love you all!

Sister Rodda

Weird Thanksgiving Week

November 30, 2015

The week of 9/23/15-9/29/15 in Sister Rodda's eyes.

Let's just say it was a weirdddd week. Because of the Holiday we had a lot of days and schedules switched around. The fact that Monday wasn't a preparation day just made the week weird.

Monday: Monday we had our studies and then we were able to email for one hour. That one hour was like a mad rush everyone was silent and just typing as fast as they could. We were able to email on Monday (even though it wasn't our preparation day) because we had to email President Bonham and he told us we had to at least email our families so they wouldn't worry... I don't get it. ;) So that's exactly what I did. After that we tried to go out and work. I say tried because the whole day just felt "off." Everywhere we went we just got bad feelings so we followed the spirit, everything fell through, it was a Monday and we were out contacting people... The only way to describe it is: it was weird. By the way I have been using the word weird a lot so I thought I would give you the definition.

Weird: ADJ. 1. of or about ghosts, etc; mysterious, eerie, etc. 

Yeah I don't know where Webster's New World Dictionary got that definition because the only ghost I know is the Holy Ghost and I wouldn't use "weird" to describe the third member of the Godhead. 

I am going to go with the second definition in the dictionary. 

Weird: ADJ. 2. strange; bizarre

That sums it up.

Tuesday: It was a typical missionary day. The best days! The best day is when you have literally nothing. You have a whole full day to plan for. Nine full hours of contacting. I love those days. We didn't see a lot of outward miracles but we know that there were a lot of tender mercies "behind the scenes".

Wednesday: We had district meeting in the morning! Sister Johnson and I had to give instruction on "setting realistic goals" it turned out great and the South Whidbey sisters gave instruction right after on "Accounting." Sister Bell did a great job. I love her! We also taught a less active we found. She is a convert of 15 years and has a lot of health issues that restrict her from going anywhere. We read in the Book of Mormon with her and we are excited to see her progress. We have a lesson with her on Tuesday and the relief society president is coming with us! We also had a lesson with Maria, Reymundo, Adolfo, and Jacob our cute little investigator family- except Reymundo is a recent convert now! They are doing great. We talked about service and we shared my favorite parable in Matthew 25 of the sheep and the goats. It is the same concept of Mosiah 2:17 "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

Thursday: THANKSGIVING! It is funny because holidays in the mission field don't really feel like holidays. They just feel like really good days! A lot of the typical traditions we do with our families back home don't happen so it doesn't feel the same. It was a great day though. We were able to email for a little bit in the morning. Then we went and played soccer at a nearby park with a few sets of elders. It was so much fun! We used my ball and the field was so muddy. You would try to turn or stop running or even kick a ball and all the sudden you were on the ground. One of the elders crossed the ball in and I tried to run onto it but before I knew it I was on my stomach like I was sliding into home. I wish Hayden would have been there. He would have called me "SAFE!" Another time I tried to take a shot from almost half and the next thing I knew I was on my back. I didn't miss the ball though. I just kicked and kept going. Sister Johnson said she saw my head bounce on the ground. It was fun and most of the time we couldn't stop laughing. We went to a members house for dinner afterward. The turkey was great and it was just a good day! We had to be in by six to avoid the drunks and to do weekly planning. We were so stuffed so we took the pie to go. But by the time we started weekly planning I had eaten all the apples out of the apple pie. Typical, I know.

Friday: In the morning we finished weekly planning and then had a meeting with our ward mission leader. We were trying to come up with a new ward mission plan. We brainstormed some ideas and came up with a rough draft. When we presented it in ward council they all LOVED it! So that is a good. :) We just went out and worked the rest of the day. OH MY GOODNESS MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT EVER. We were at a member’s home for dinner. Actually the same members who fed us thanksgiving. We were eating on their couches (because a lot of people do that here) and it is just the wife, Sister Johnson, and me. She told us her husband was sick and was in bed sleeping. Then all the sudden the husband throws something and literally scares me half to death. The plate that was sitting on my lap was now face down on their very light colored rug. It was beautiful. Luckily the cranberry sauce stuff landed right next to the ONLY red flower on the rug. That was at least a positive. Nothing like mashed potatoes mashed in the rug.

Saturday: Once again I was sick. I had been feeling kinda crummy a few days before. I called our mission doctor and he told me to stay in most of the day. It was like a cold but all in my chest and lungs not in my head. I still have a cough and a sore throat but nearly as bad!

Sunday: Well we got to speak in sacrament meeting. YAY. They gave us two topics earlier this week and let us pray and choose who did what. Then we got a text from a member of the bishopric asking which one of us was the senior companion. Whoever was senior had to be the closing speaker. That was me. We both gave 20 minute talks and shoot, it is so stressful thinking about how you can add or take away from a talk you've written depending on the time. It turned out great though. Sister Johnson spoke on how to overcome the fear of member missionary work and I talked on how to gain a testimony. In my talk I used Alma chapter 32 when Alma compares the word unto a seed. I compared gaining and strengthening a testimony unto a seed. I shared how I gained my testimony and how I decided to serve a mission. I will send home my talk mom so you can read it. ;) I don't know what to do with a talk after you give it. I feel too bad just throwing it away after spending so much time on it. After we gave our talks the member of the bishopric that assigned it to us said, "You know, I prayed and prayed and prayed about who should talk on these subjects and you two did it perfectly as to what Heavenly Father wanted to be conveyed." We finished the rest of our meetings on Sunday, did our studies, had dinner, and then visited more people!

There is a great thing that started yesterday and that is the new Christmas initiative! Some of greatest experiences I have had on my mission include the Christmas and Easter initiatives. Where someone can watch a truly powerful video and then you can simply testify. This year it is called, "A Savior is Born." And you can find the 2 minute video at or use #ASaviorisBorn. It is a great way to quickly invite the spirit and to remember the true meaning of Christmas!  

Ponderizing: The scripture I chose this week is 1 Nephi 21:16

I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ. There have been many tragedies of people I served and people I know back home and it is comforting to know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of his children. I know that Jesus Christ suffered so we don't have to. I know that he truly broke the bands of death and that we can live with our families forever. As a missionary you have the greatest privilege of all and that is being able to testify of the truths of the Gospel. You can bring the spirit into someone's home who is grieving and just watch as they are slowly comforted. We truly have a front row seat of the greatest miracle of all: the effect of Christ's Atonement on people.

I love you all and I am so grateful for the example I have in my life. I am excited for this Christmas season! It will be a white Christmas in the Pacific Northwest, I am sure of it!

Sister Rodda