Monday, October 29, 2012

Breaking news!

For the last month I have been writing about Keith Seagull and his amazing conversion story. On Saturday Keith had an equally amazing baptism. Keith and Brother Dean dressed in white and we took pictures in front of the font as it filled up to the final step. The program ran more smoothly than any baptism I have been to. Our ward mission leader brother Rambow gave a simple talk on baptism and then it was time for Keith to step into the font. Elder Sevison and I stepped up to be witnesses for the baptism. We warned Keith that the baptismal ordinance can sometimes be a little anti-climatic. We prepared for a month for an event that takes maybe thirty seconds. For me it seemed that everything slowed down when he entered the water. The prayer was said with feeling and Keith was fully immersed. Later Keith described the experience saying: "It was as if for just a moment I didn't exist." It was not anti-climatic. While they were dressing we watched a short video from "the district" and Elder Sevison bore his testimony. When  Elder Sevison was talking about knowing if the Book of Mormon is true or not, Keith walked in, back in dry clothes, and exclaimed "It's true!" with full confidence. With the zone, we prepared a musical number. The title of the song we sang is "Oh Lord my Redeemer." Many including myself were in tears. the lyrics speak of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the chorus goes: "Oh Lord my Redeemer thou hast done so much for me, Oh Lord my Redeemer all my love I give to thee." When Bishop Dow arose to welcome Keith into the ward he wisely called on Keith to speak. Keith told of his experience with The Book of Mormon and his relationship with Jesus Christ. It was one of the finest sermons I have heard. Later that night we ate mediterranean  food that Dina, Keith's wife, prepared for us. She is from Bangladesh and her religion is Muslim. The food was amazing. I couldn't pronounce anything that we ate. :) One of the best things that have come from the baptism was that she was able to attend. through the service she was in tears. Considering her background there is still quite a haul for her to join her husband, but I feel that Saturday was the start. I feel honored that the Lord entrusted Keith to us. Well there are other things I could ramble about but I won't. I hope you all have a great week. Our teaching pool has been down of late so we will be knocking doors like crazy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Luau:

So we have been planning and preparing for a stake luau hosted by the Tongan ward for a couple of months now. and now it has come and gone. It was so much fun. Food and other provisions were prepared for an army. Many pigs died in the name of missionary work. :) It was all well needed with a crowd well over a thousand in attendance. After all of the food was served and eaten it was time for the performances. Polynesian wards from all over the valley had a performance prepared. there was even a couple of performances from a catholic church! Every island was represented by a few performances. When It was time for the Maori performance to begin Me and my two companions got into our Lava lavas and joined the Tongan throng for the Hakka. With all of the tongue flashing and war screams we could muster we changed the atmosphere from the Hawaiian beach to an island battlefield. :) Don't worry not every child was crying by the end of our performance. (all of this was approved by the mission president by the way). Towards the end of the night they actually called our mission president to the stage, as well as the stake presidency. There they had a dance off. I now know that my mission president is a little better at giving motivational talks than he is at moving his hips :). We filmed the entire thing. :) He was good to let us participate to such an extent. Now was that all for nothing? I say unto you nay. This last week we set five baptismal dates with a family that started going to the Tongan ward because of the Luau. We will be teaching them again Tonight! This is going to now be an annual event. Maybe the next time I come I won't be known as Elder Roos.

This mission Tour:

We had the chance to have Elder C. Scott Grow of the seventy visit and instruct our mission. We had a Zone leader council before he spoke to the mission where he was able to instruct the twenty of us. After he trained us the entire mission had the chance to be taught. A few days before he came to our mission he was in a meeting with The first presidency and The Chorum of the Twelve. He told us that every time President Monson speaks to the general authority's in this setting he speaks on The Rescue. This is President Monson's central message for his time as a prophet. Elder Grow wants us to spend as much time looking for and teaching non members as we do with less actives. He promised us that as we do we will baptize many more than we have. He explained that the less actives are the ones who know the non-members and they will refer them to us as we teach and reactivate them. The second part of his training dealt with the way we planned. This was the most inspiring training on planning I have been given. He showed us a new way to plan which used our mission averages and which forces us to have more faith in setting our numbers than we have. He used Ether 12 speaking of an "eye of faith." We have already seen some great things come from planning this way. The trick will be to maintain this new way of planning when the times get tough for the missionaries. Well that sums up what we were taught. It impressed me that Elder Grow had a scripture for everything... literally.


Elder Sevison and I are going to be together for another six weeks! Sadly we will no longer be in the Tongan wards, but we will remain in the summit ward. I am happy that not much is changing for us. only a fourth of our zone is changing so that is good as well.
I am happy. I am having many great experiences. Many of which show me that I still have much to learn as a missionary. Maybe by the end of my mission I will finally be who I want to be.
-Elder Roos

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dear Everyone,

CONFERENCE! and a historic one at that. I'm not sure if I would have ready at 18. In fact I know I wasn't. It would have compelled me to prepare a lot more in High school knowing at graduation I could be off on a mission. So it my opinion that psychologically it will help a lot of young men take church a little more seriously at a younger age. As far as mission presidents saying:  “Give me more 18 year- olds. They’re sweeter; they’re purer, they’re smarter.” My retort to that statement is that they haven't experienced American eighteen year olds yet. :) It will work out for the best. I hope that more missionaries come out all over the world. Maybe China will open soon or something cool like that where we need to double our missionary force. I bet President Anderson is as giddy as Holland was in the press conference. :) The Lord is hastening his work. Speaking of the work it is going well in our respective areas. We set two baptismal dates this last week! The first is a young man named Justus who has been dating someone in the Spanish ward. He lives in our ward boundaries so we get to teach him! He is solid. He came to conference yesterday with us and ate with the Tongan ward after. :) The second was for the Tongan ward. Her name is Desire and she is about college age. She also came to conference. I look forward to teaching these new investigators and the others we have. It still amazes me how the blessings of the Lord can be thrown at you. The Summit ward is being blessed. Going back to conference my favorite talk was Holland's. He gave a very similar address to the MTC a few years back. We watched it recently at a zone conference. The words "Lovest thou me" will be something that I will say ask myself throughout my life. The moment that hit me the hardest was when he said: "To every returned missionary who ever stood in a baptismal font and with arm to the square said: 'having been commissioned of Jesus Christ.' That commission was to have changed your convert forever, but is was surely supposed to have changed you forever as well." I know that this commission has changed me. I also know that I need to let it change me more. It is a commission I received long before my mission. It was a commission I have failed to live up to at times. I am grateful that when we deny Jesus Christ for me a lot more than three times, He gives us an equal amount of chances to say "thou knowest that I love thee." We say this by acting according to the commission given us when we were baptized. Anyway I'm done with my rant for today. I love conference because it gives me an extra push as I know it did for all of you. We especially liked the theme of missionary work throughout. :) I hope all is well for you. Thank you for your support.

-Elder Roos 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dear world,
Valeti's baptism was a great experience. The Tongans know how  to throw a baptism or any other activity. Valeti has been such a wonderful lady to teach. She has been full of smiles and tears since we began teaching her, and her baptism was no exception for her. the majesty of this occasion was matched with a chapel full of beautiful Tongan voices. I have never heard better singing in any chapel before. I only wish I knew the words.of the hymns :) We proceeded with the baptism with Valeti in tears and my companion Elder Pauga ready to perform the ordinance. He worked on the baptismal prayer before hand so that he could say the prayer in Tongan. There was a hush among the spectators as she was immersed in the water. talks were given she was confirmed. Following her confirmation she bore a sweet testimony. Many scriptures echoed through my mind about those who received the Holy Ghost speaking with the tongue of angels. The closing hymn was sung louder than the rest. It felt as though the walls would burst. Then it was time for the feast ,which is seemingly a requirement for any function in the Tongan wards. We had the rare chance to sit at the table of honor with Valeti. They brought in more food than the table could hold. There were three pigs (bwaka) just for those at our table. :) There were many foods I have never seen before but they tasted great. The only thing I was used to was the piles of fried chicken. :) Let's just say I left feeling much like a balloon when all was devoured. To my surprise, after sacrament meeting we had another feast after church, because there was the primary program. :) I have begun to realize how sad I will be to leave the Tongan wards.. We taught Keith(our super golden investigator) the hardest lesson we have taught him yet. Keith suffers with Leukemia. He has been fighting it for some time now. He is doing all he can to keep himself healthy. One way he is fighting it is by drinking green tea, which contains 'egcg' a known fighter of this blood disease. We taught the word of wisdom to him focusing on green tea. We had to explain that we often follow commandments only because we have been asked not because it makes sense to us logically. He said he would stop drinking green tea. He told us that the pain in his spleen was getting bad.  He mentioned that this may be a sign his disease was going to be back in full force. We gave him a blessing promising him healing. He texted us after we left telling us that after the blessing the pain in his spleen had gone. He attributed this  to the blessing and thanked Jesus. He received results from a blood test later in the week. The doctor told him that his results were stable and he was doing fine. He has learned so much in the past few weeks that he has now moved on to deep doctrine with one of the smartest guys in the ward. :) His baptism is set for the 19th of October. Well I hope all is well for you. I miss home, but If I left I would miss it here almost as much. 
-Elder Roos