New Life

March 21, 2016

This week we have had a great opportunity to share the new Easter video that was produced by the church with everyone that we come in contact with. You can watch this short two minute video at FollowHim.mormon.org or use the hashtag #hallelujah to see posts of members all over the world on social media. People from all countries testify that as we "follow Him we will find new life." I want to add my testimony to theirs.
Through the Atonement of MY Savior, Jesus Christ, I have found MY new life. Being on a mission can be terribly difficult. You leave home, family, friends, hobbies, and a comfortable life. You think there is no end to this foreign world you were suddenly thrown into. You feel utterly and completely alone most of the time with a companion you are with 100% of the time. It is hard. But... it is supposed to be. In those moments you realize that being on a mission is not and WILL NOT be sufficient enough. You will be absolutely miserable and you will fail. You have to choose to serve a mission. As you internally, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, whatever you want to call it, choose to serve your Heavenly Father and His children you find new life. You have the same trials, the same difficulties, the same heartaches, but because of your choice to serve- you understand the ability you have to rely on the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. You will be happy and you will experience JOY. Going on a mission and serving a mission are like night and day: complete and total opposites. But unlike night and day, being on a mission and serving a mission is a choice. It is an absolutely glorious day when you realize you don't want to come home. Not because you don't miss your family anymore or because you want to avoid all the stresses of future life... but because you understand the effect of Christ's Atonement on individuals and families. I can honestly say I know Jesus Christ suffered for each of us personally. He redeems us from sin. He strengthens our weaknesses. He bears our burdens. He carries us through trials. I know he willingly gave up his life for us- because he loves us. Easter is my favorite holiday and not just because it is when my favorite candy is in season. But because we celebrate the most magnificent miracle that has ever taken place- the reuniting of a spirit body with a body of flesh and bones, NEVER again to be divided. And is a gift promised to each of us, no matter if we made good or bad decisions on Earth. Because of our perfect, obedient, loving Savior- I have found new life.
How have you found new life in Jesus Christ? mom, can you, dad, and dude each answer this question and send me it in a letter?

Sincerely, Sister Rodda

JOY!

March 14, 2016
"...But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."
D&C 31
I started my personal study one morning and came across a section in the Doctrine & Covenants (31) that was completely marked in my quad. At the top of the section I wrote, "Missionary work and homesickness." Still not sure when I ever studied this chapter... haha. Anyway, Sister Washburn has been feeling a little homesick lately so I told her to read it.  Later in the day she told me she was feeling extremely homesick during personal study and didn't want to tell me. As soon as she decided not to tell me I invited her to read that section. Sometimes we follow spiritual promptings on accident. Then we went to Maria's house and she just broke down.  I opened up my quad to Doctrine and Covenants 31 and handed it to Sister Washburn to share. The Holy Ghost was literally in the room- He is real, he is alive, he is tangible to our hearts. You never know the impact you have on others. And although Sister Washburn thinks her homesickness is a weakness, I can testify that it is a strength.
Grab Bag
A few months ago our cute Mukilteo Ward made grab bags with food, water, socks, hand warmers, etc. They are to give to the less fortunate (the homeless) we see/meet on the street. On our way home from the church we saw a homeless man on the side of the road with a sign asking for anything. We had some of these bags in our trunk and we were stopped at a red light. It was getting late, we were tired... and I looked at Sister Washburn and said, "I will pop the trunk, you jump out and throw this man a bag."  So she did!  Right as she threw it a young dad with a couple kids in the back pulled up. He looked at us, smiled, and proceeded to get out his wallet to give the man some money. GOODNESS IS CONTAGIOUS. There is no way he would have done that if we wouldn't have set an example. And he got to be a great example to his cute kiddos too!
Dollar Store
This week I was really, really sick. Sicker than I have been in a really long time. I finally called our mission doctor and he told us to go to the dollar store to get some medicine. As we were in line to get out stuff a really nice Tongan lady said she wanted to pay for our groceries. THERE ARE STILL GREAT PEOPLE IN THIS CRAZY WORLD. It was also such a  blessing that we went to Rue 21 on Preparation Day so we could compliment the shirt she was wearing (we saw it at the store) and  were able to have a good conversation. THE SPIRIT CAN PROMPT YOU TO GO SHOPPING... SHOPPING CAN ALSO BRING MIRACLES. (Maybe I just made that up.)
Street Skipping
Sister Washburn and I hit a slump in our day. We were both tired, sick, and not all that happy. We were stopped at a red light and this guy just started happily smiling and skipping as he crossed the street. He totally made us smile, laugh, and become happier. THE LORD TRULY PLACES PEOPLE IN OUR PATH... SOMETIMES JUST TO MAKE US SMILE! This guy also may have been on drugs but we will keep that on the down low.
Boyacks
We went to go see one of our investigators we haven't seen in a while and we were able to have a lesson with her. Her son also became a new investigator.  :) Tender Mercy number 1. But tender mercy number 2 was that we were running really late. We called our dinner appointment and told them how long until we would be there (they were fine with it!) In the meantime we were walking as fast as we could in the pouring rain. We were rushing the whole way there. We said a really fast prayer. Then we knocked on the door. As soon as we walked in the Spirit just engulfed me and filled my whole heart and mind. It was a confirmation to slow down and really enjoy everything around us.

A guy in a car
Remind me to tell you this one in the future!
Old Man
This week we did our weekly planning down at the Mukilteo Beach. We were parked next to this really really REALLY old couple. They sat in their car for a while and then got out to go for a walk. It was really windy and we thought the wind might just pick them off and carry them away. Well they went for a nice walk. We had watched them the entire way. Sister Washburn and I went back to our weekly planning and then we heard the little old lady yelling. We can't see the guy anywhere. So we jump out of the car and see that he had fallen in front of our car. We made sure he was okay. He said he was okay but we think he busted his knee. We lifted him up and got him settled in his car. The cute wife just thanked us over and over and over again because she had no way to help him if we weren't there. The old man just kept waving to us.

Rain
We are currently surviving the rainiest season of all time on record... so yeah, tender mercy.
Joy
My message today has to go along with joy. For the last few weeks the word joy has come up in conversation, scripture, and thoughts more than ever before. I have been studying it for quite some time to really figure out what "joy" actually means. We throw this word around so casually when in reality it has a profound and impactful definition. I read these definitions from Elder Dallin H. Oaks, "Joy is more than happiness. Joy is the ultimate sensation of well-being. It comes from being complete and in harmony with our Creator and his eternal laws." He also said, "Joy is an eternal emotion whose ultimate extent we are not likely to experience in mortality." And lastly, "Despite all we can do, we cannot have a fullness of joy in this world or through our own efforts. Only in Christ can our joy be full." For the first time... in ever... I was able to experience what the scriptures mean by “joy” at church this past Sunday. We were sitting in our typical seat at church. The Priests said the sacrament prayers and the Deacons started to pass the bread. As I put my head down to pray the spirit touched my heart and I was filled with peace/comfort. Overcome by this I looked around the room and it just hit me even harder. To our right was a single mom and her five kids who are currently returning to activity. To our left was one of our investigators who is on date for baptism. Behind us are two more investigators and across the room is Maria (another investigator on date for baptism). I put my head down to thank Heavenly Father for all the blessings he has given to us. Then they offered the blessing on the water. As soon as they started to pass the water I was going to put my head down to pray when again I was struck with the Holy Ghost and started looking around the room again. I saw Reymundo, a recent convert, passing the sacrament on my right and to my left I saw Adolfo, Reymundo's brother- another recent convert, passing the sacrament for the very first time. I wrote a note to Sister Washburn that said, "Maria+Jodi+Abraham+Isaac+Rey+Adolfo=JOY" And she wrote back, "I guess there is your answer." I know that Heavenly Father really does hear and answer our prayers. He knows when we put in our side of the effort to study something out and he gives us experiences to understand more fully. I can now say that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and it is the ONLY way we can feel and experience the eternal emotion of joy on Earth.
"When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is explainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance." Elder David A. Bednar 
I loveeeeee you all! xoxo
Sister Rodda

Spiders!

I am so sorry to hear the loss of our sweet Gina McConkie. I miss her dearly and I know so many others do as well. I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation. And especially the knowledge I have of this divine plan. I have such a strong testimony in the plan and I KNOW that it is a perfect plan for each of us. I am so grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, and his willingness to overcome death. This is not the end and each of us WILL live again. :)

Soooooo crazyyy adventure of the week: On Friday of this last week Sister Washburn dropped something under her dresser that holds all of her study materials. She saw something black so we pulled the dresser back only to find a ton of dead beetle looking things on the ground. We were like, "what theeee heck!" Then we noticed some spider webs and we figured that it couldn't be too good. Sister Washburn is really scared of spiders so I tipped over the dresser while she stood on the other side of the room. I looked under the tipped over dresser only to find a GINORMOUS black widow (pictures to come). Not only was there a giant black widow there were 5 or 6 nests full of eggs. I never asked for black widow eggs for an Easter present but sometimes we get more than we wish for. At this point I am telling Sis. W what I see and she is now standing on a chair. I stood there for a minute or two just to process this whole scenario. We then decided we needed to destroy this thing. Meanwhile we realize the time and remember we have an appointment in 10 minutes. We set up my camera (which can record for 30 minutes) so if she (the spider- we are calling it a girl) were to move we would know where she went. *25 minutes go by and we are home again* THE SPIDER DIDN'T MOVE! HALLELUJAH. So now we have to go into action mode. While Sister Washburn so kindly observes from the top of the study table I realize I may need to take the manly side of the companionship and put my great spider-killing skills to work. I will proceed to tell you of our spider killing action plan.


1. Suit up. First it is critical to put on long pants and a long sleeve shirt. We put on our giant rain boots. The spider would have to crawl up a long way to get anywhere near our legs. Then you need to put on work gloves. As heavy duty as you can find (don't use the left over ones from the past elders- you never what are in them). Luckily and definitely prompted by the spirit, Sister Washburn brought two pairs from home. Then you need to wear a headband, this way no spiders can get in your ears. Oh and the most important part is a front headlamp- that way you can still use both hands and there is no chance of dropping it. Also, my dad was very prompted to send it to me a year ago.


2. Equipment. You need to warm up your stomping leg so it can move quickly and so you don't strain a muscle. You also need a vacuum and rubbing alcohol.

3. Take action. First give Sister Washburn the rubbing alcohol so she feels like she is doing something from the top of the counter. Second put the vacuum outside and leave the hose inside. Third suck the spider up with the hose, run outside, open the filter, slam it upside down on the concrete. Then have Sister Washburn put a ring of rubbing alcohol around the upside down filter (again so she feels helpful- haha I love her). After that open the door so Sister Washburn can go back inside and get on top of the table. Then you lift the container that has the filter on it, quickly spot the black widow (or any creepy crawler for the matter) and STOMP. Just keep stomping even if it so squished you can't see it anymore, keep going. Last but not least proceed to the nests, then the other nests, then the other spider, then other nests, and continue to repeat as necessary!

video

4. Never forget. Keep your guard up at all times and you will never be in danger.

This week we had lots of opportunities to serve. I love doing service. You always leave feeling better and happier.

Before I left for Washington I thought I knew what love was. The way I cared about my family or soccer or anything else. But I can honestly say that only now in my life do I know what love actually is. Serving the Lord and serving my brothers and sisters has literally opened my eyes and especially my heart to charity- which is the pure and lasting love of Christ. The bible dictionary says charity is the highest, noblest, and strongest kind of love. I have experienced that love over and over and over again as I have been out on my mission. Missionaries are set apart to teach but also set apart to love. As we experience and exercise that love we can recognize it in all phases of life. In Corinthians and in Moroni we read about faith, hope, and charity. However, one day faith will become knowledge, hope will be fulfilled, but charity "never faileth." There has been and always will be charity- the pure love of Christ.
I love you all. All of the support, encouragement, and prayers has not gone unnoticed and I feel those blessings every single day.

Sincerely, Sister Rodda



Leap Day 2016

February 29, 2016

ACTUALLY TODAY IS FEBRUARY 29TH AND IT IS ONE OF THE 8 EXTRA DAYS I GET ON MY MISSION. IT IS A BLESSED DAY FOLKS.

Well we are officially starting week 6 of the transfer... huh? I literally do not know where time goes. If I had one request for God, only one, it would be: more time in the day. Personally I don't think it is too greedy to ask for that. Life moves all too quickly.
Sister Washburn and I are doing well. I LOVE HER. She is a friend for eternity. We have no room for bickering or back biting, "for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work- there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work."
I have been amazed at this area in which we are serving. It has completely changed in the seemingly short few months I have been assigned to serve here. The growth and progress of the members, investigators, and ourselves as missionaries has been rapid. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is truly hastening in this area.

SOOOO... Adolfo was baptized this week! We are so proud of him for making this big change in his life and truly following in the Savior's footsteps. He was baptized on Saturday, was confirmed a member of the church on Sunday, AND also received the Priesthood on Sunday. His cute mom was beaming the entire day. She couldn't be more proud of her two sons (her other son was baptized back in November) and I could just see a small glimpse of how proud our Father in Heaven is for Adolfo. The ward is really excited as well. Before Reymundo's baptism back in November the ward did not have a baptism for a couple years. They are full of fellowship and support!
Maria, Domlina, and Jodi are still on date and on track for baptism. There are a few jumps and hurdles in the way- law of chastity and word of wisdom issues, but with the help of the Lord, I know they will make it. This week we started a stop smoking program with Jodi. It is designed to help you become a nonsmoker in 7 days. We have a different member assigned to call her each day of the week to offer support and encouragement. Unfortunately, Domlina will be moving but we will get missionaries in contact with her and she will still progress! That is all that matters. :) Maria is as solid as can be- she just needs to get married or move out! She is looking at moving out the end of March!
We found two new investigators this week: Bob and Nancy Keithley. They are in their 80s and are super cute! They always have some sort of treat for us when we get there and they want to take us out to dinner this upcoming week. They are extremely devoted to their church but they (mostly Bob) knows the church is true and wants to be baptized by immersion. Bob and Nancy are basically Mormon they just don't know it.

The greatest opportunity (in my opinion) that Heavenly Father has given his children is the ability to change. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can repent and realign ourselves to the will of the Lord. We have tools and resources such as scriptures and General Authorities which allow us to gain greater knowledge. We have been given prayer which allows us to literally communicate with the Father in which we receive personal revelation. We are given chance after chance to grow, progress, and change. Serving a mission is a place where that rapidly happens. I have seen my companions grow SO MUCH. I have seen myself transform in indescribable ways. I know I am not the same Rodda I was when I left back in November 2014 and it has been the greatest thing in my life. And more importantly FOR my life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ truly is a miracle and we have the ability to be a part of it. It's the good news that we carry to the world. We don't have to live in sadness, darkness, despair, loneliness, or guilt. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, overcame those things for us. He suffered so we don't need to suffer alone. It is never too late to change.
I love you all. :) I know a lot of you are counting down... but I still have a lot to learn before I come home. I have learned more in the last 3 months than I have my whole mission and I have another 3 months to learn even more.
Sincerely,

Sister Rodda