Thursday, May 28, 2015

Short Post This Week

I am sorry this email is so short-- we don't have like any time to email because we didn't get to on Mondays because it was memorial day and all the libraries were closed, then yesterday we had an IPAD CONFERENCE!!!!!
WE ARE GETTING IPADS THIS WEEK! So yesterday we received a lot of training, which was SO cool. The Lord really is hastening His work, I have a testimony of that, that's for sure!
We had Elder Nielson from the Seventy come and teach us about how to use technology effectively, as well as Kelly Mills (who is in charge of all the MTCs WORLDWIDE!) It was an amazing conference I wish I could write about everything I learned.

"The truth of God will go forth boldly, til it has penetrated every continent...till the purposes of God shall be accomplished" God is HASTENING HIS WORK!!! HE has given us these tools so that His work can go forward- even in gated communitites here in Houston, even with Rotweillers and vicious Chihuahuas, people can still hear about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints :)

I really did feel strongly while I was there at the conference that the First Presidency trusts us SO much. They emphasized that a lot while we were there-- yes. It is going to be a huge temptation to have technology at such easy access, but no, I will not fall to temptation! We will not fall!
Another thing that Elder Nielson said that struck me-- I am not learning how to use technology just as a missionary. I am learning now how to be a disciple of Jesus Christ in the digital age. I am learning now how to effectively share the gospel through the internet so that I will be able to continue to do so throughout the rest of my life! I will forever be battling Satan the rest of my life and right now I am going to make a plan for how I will deal with temptations, and how I will not let Satan control the internet :)

I am excited to share with you guys as I keep learning more about how to work this whole technology and mission work thing. I just wanted to share a thought or two about what this means for us as missionaries right now, and what it means for all you guys (and me when I come home) as disciples of Jesus Christ in a world where Satan is ever so apparent.

As far as teaching goes, everything is going great. I am sorry this has to be so short- but I will write more this next week and plan ahead better what I want to say. I didn't know how much time we would have today, but the answer was not very much.

PS I am okay!! There has been TONS of rain here-- some pretty incredible lightning and thunder storms but we are safe! We get flooding warnings, and they close down dangerous roads and Heavenly Father is taking good care of us down here :)

I am sorry once again that this is so short-- the library is about to close. I love yall so much! Have a great week!

Hermana Rogers

Monday, May 18, 2015

Transfer 7, Here We Go!

Hey there familia!! :)
It is officially the start of another transfer here in Pecan Park :) GUESS WHO MY COMPANION IS?! Hermana Hurst.
I dont know if you all remember the story of how I KNEW HER BEFORE THE MISSION but real quick storytime. 
So I was at BYU at my friend McKale Simpson's mission call opening, and the girl sitting next to me was on Skype with someone. I hear the girl next to me say, "Erin, where do you think McKale is going?" Then from the computer screen I hear, "She's going to Texas Houston East, spanish speaking". I popped my head over into the computer screen and said, "Hey!!!!! that's MY mission!!" So then me and Hermana Hurst became friends... then came to the CCM together...and now are out in the field together... as COMPANIONS! Whaaa? 
I am super relieved that I got a companion as someone I already know because I was already SO nervous about leading out the area that I couldnt have handled getting to know someone too... haha just kidding but also I am kind of serious. I am super grateful. 
Hermana Hurst is one of the most patient people I have ever met. She just knows how to keep her cool and she's also SO strong in everything... she has a solid testimony and knows so much about the gospel and is also like actually emotionally stable so this is going to be really good for me. She has helped me through a lot already and I can tell this transfer is going to help me grow so much!
I am really excited for this transfer.
Okay updates on the week! Well... to be honest it was REALLY sad. Yesterday was a super dramatic day-- a lot of the members freaked out about Gerardo, and it ended up that the Elders have to take over teaching him. I don't know how to explain it all, but there was a lot of judgements made about him, a lot of people trying to "protect us" and so now we can't go back to teach him. I will be hounding the Elders to make sure they keep teaching him though. It was another really hard moment for me to accept the counsel of my leaders because there wasn't an ounce of my body that wanted to. But I know I have to because that's the lesson Heavenly Father is trying to teach me right now-- how to accept his will even when it isn't something I want. It has never been harder as it has these last few weeks with Hugo's baptism and now not being able to teach Gerardo. I will be working a lot more on my humility and willingness to obey for sure. 
We did have some cool lessons with him this week. He has been reading the Book of Mormon an ton and just wants to know everything there possibly is to know about the gospel! :) 
We saw some other awesome miracles this week as well.
Carmen and Alejandro are 2 of our other investigators that we have been working with and they have a baptismal date but we hadnt been able to see them for a while. We stopped by on Wednesday, and outside was Carmen's husband Marvin. We talked to him for a little bit, but were planning on just leaving and talking to Carmen and Alejandro, but he told us, "I've been reading in the book you gave me" wait whaaaa?? So turns out Alejandro has read a little bit, Carmen hasn't read at all, but MARVIN has been reading and he is the one that wants to come to church! So that surprised us, but it was a good surprise :)
on Thursday, we were on our way to a set lesson with a less-active member, then we showed up, knocked his door, then called him. He said, sorry Hermanas I am in a meeting. We were pretty confused since he was the one that had set the appointment, but we just started walking away, trying to think where we should go next. As we were walking, we saw this guy trying to get something out of his trunk, so we offered to help him, and he said he didnt need help, but we started a conversation with him about the church. He said that the missionaries used to go to his house in El Salvador but then he moved here. His grandma got baptized over there, but he hadnt talked to missionaries since he lived here. He lives with his wife and sibling and cousin or something and said we could come back the next day and teach all of them. We showed him Because He Lives right there and he really liked it. We set a return appointment for the next day and walked away so happy that our first lesson had fallen through so we could meet Eric.
The next day, we went to go to Eric's appointment. We knocked and knocked, and he wasnt there. So we called him and he said that he wasn't home because he was visiting his daughter but he felt SO bad... he apologized SO many times and then we told him it was okay, we could set another appointment. When we hung up the phone, we started talking about how the reason we met him in the first place was because something fell through. So we knew that there must be a reason that his appointment had fallen through as well because Heavenly Father had put us back in this area. Without even a second thought, we knocked the next apartment. It was a younger couple, Isabella and Douglas. They let us right in and we started talking to them. They have had a really hard life and had been TALKING YESTERDAY about how they wanted to find a church to go to. THEN WE KNOCKED THEIR DOOR TODAY. It was such a great experience to know that Heavenly Father really does put us where we need to be for a reason. He knows the people in this area and there's a plan for every one of them. Eric wouldnt have missed his appointment on purpose, but because he did, we met someone else that was searching for the truth.
The last story I want to share real quick was Sunday night. We have been visiting this family-- there are 6 kids ranging from ages like 30-17 and 2 of them are members and the rest aren't. Their dad really doesn't want anything to do with the church, so when we went over Sunday night, we had to sit outside because the dad was home. I got a little nervous, thinking maybe we shouldnt be there, but then a couple of the kids came out to talk with us. We were out there talking for a while and they told us story after story about why the dad doesn't like the church, why he is offended by missionaries, etc. Then all of a sudden the dad walks out. I practically held my breath because I didn't know what to do. I already knew he didnt like us. He was carrying some things outside and so after hesitating just a minute, I asked him if he wanted help. He turned around pretty surprised and said that he was fine. I dont even remember what happened next but basically within a few seconds he came over and started talking with us. He asked us about why we were missionaries, what we do, why we like the church, how long we have been members, why we are members, what we are studying, what we will do after our missions, why we have faith in God, what our faith in God does for us, and THEN he started to open up. It was an amazing conversation. Not going to lie I was pretty nervous and worried almost the whole time, but when he was going in, he said, "this is your house, you're welcome to come over whenever you want"....uhhhhhh??? So Felipe explained to us how surprised he was and he said that it was a miracle that his dad had said all that. He said he hadn't heard his dad talk about the church in a long time and he definitely didn't expect to. It was really cool.
Although there were some really hard moments in this week, there were also some really cool miracles and I know Heavenly Father is looking out for us. He knows what we need and I am working on trusting Him in everything.
HUGO showed up to our ward randomly so I got to see him for a little bit and that was the biggest tender mercy of entire life. I WAS SO HAPPY. He told me that his life is changing for the better and although it was hard to leave all of his past behind, he knows it was the right decision and that was what he needed in order to be a better person. :) AH it made me sooooo happy. He is doing so well! 
I love you all so much! Thank you for everything you do for me, all your prayers and support. The mission is amazing, I wouldnt trade it for anything. Its true, it goes by way too fast, but all I can do is live in the moment and learn from it! I am grateful for the lessons Heavenly Father is teaching me, even though sometimes I am too stubborn to learn them the easy way so everything is difficult... I still know He loves me.

Have a great week! I love yall!
Love, Hermana Rogers

Monday, May 11, 2015


Hi family!!!! It was so good to talk to you yesterday! :) It felt wayyy too short and I felt like I was just talking the whole time-- sorry! But it was awesome to see your smiling faces and Janaeas smiling face without teeth :) I love yall SOOOO MUCH!

I apologize in advance for all the repeat information that you have to read-- but I am going to try and better explain Gerardo's story! :) 

OKAY. First of all. Heavenly Father is AWARE OF EVERY SINGLE PERSON AND THEIR NEEDS AND HIS TIMING IS PERFECT. I am so grateful that I am not in charge of directing my own life-- He knows what is best, His ways are higher than my ways and His plans are greater than anything I could even imagine.

Last week, I wanted nothing more than to be at Hugo's baptism. Nothing in the world could make me feel better because Hugo changed my life, Hugo helped me get through the beginning of my mission, Hugo is about to go back to Mexico and then who knows when/if I will see him again!? Basically I thought that it was the right thing for me to be there and no one (not even the mission president) could tell me otherwise. I was very prideful and not at all willing to submit to the will of the Lord. So I was pretty sad-- we went out contacting that night because our plans had fallen through- we walked through this apartment complex and saw this guy standing out on the corner, so we went to go talk to him. It was a pretty simple contact, but when we told him that we were here to invite him to come unto Christ and feel peace and happiness in his life, he opened up to us a lot. He told us he had been wanting to go to church, felt rejected at the last one he had gone to, and that he was wanting to change his life. We left him with a pamphlet, set a return appointment, and left. 

Monday we went back for our appointment and he apologized so many times and told us that we wouldn't be able to teach him in his house because his cousins want nothing to do with the church and don't want us to come teach Gerardo. He said that after we had talked to him Sunday night, he went to go back inside and his neighbors started criticizing him for talking to 3 white girls, then his cousins started criticizing him for talking about church things, and he was already being judged by everyone. So we taught him in a parking lot. After the lesson we invited him to be baptized and he said that he wants to do anything possible to change his life around. We told him about the services at church, and he asked if we could go there beforehand so he could know exactly where it was. (NO ONE does that-- most people are like- okay yeah see you there- then never show up). Basically lesson went amazing, he told us a lot about himself and his personal life and things that he wants to change, and we let him know that we are there for him to help him change. He is SO grateful. 

Tuesday when we taught him, we met at a park so that no one would be mad at him for talking to us. We taught him about God as his Heavenly Father and about prayer. He opened up even more and told us that last night as he was trying to read the pamphlet, his cousins were getting mad at him and telling him to "turn off the light and put that garbage away" Gerardo told them no-- he was going to read this book because he finally had God in his life and was happy. He had marked things in the pamphlet that he didnt understand, asked us lots of questions, and told us that he wanted this eternal joy and peace forever. He said the closing prayer and CRIED THROUGH THE WHOLE THING. He told us afterwards, "Siento feliz y agradecido- mi vida esta cambiando". His life is changing and he is SO happy! He told us that Sunday, the day we met him was such a special day and he was so grateful that we came to show him the path and help him change his life. 

Wednesday we went to the church with Gerardo to give him a church tour. He LOVED IT. At first, he was telling us that today at work his companions were asking him why he was so different, why he was so happy. He said that he pulled out the Restoration pamphlet FROM HIS POCKET and showed them why he was so happy!!!!!!! He carries it around with him everywhere and tells everyone why he has this happiness now! AH it was SO awesome. He also told us this story. 
Sunday night he was sitting at home with all his cousins, and he heard something outside calling his name. He looked out the window and didn't see anything there, so he went back with his cousins. Then he heard his name outside again, and this time he went out and stood on the corner, and thats when we walked up to him and started talking to him. He knew this was exactly what he was looking for. The Spirit was so strong when he was telling that story-- Gerardo was SO prepared and knows exactly why he is doing this, why he is talking to us. He knows that he can change his life with the gospel of Jesus Christ and he knows that this is the change he has been searching for. 

Thursday we met with him and he had written us a note. In spanish this is what it says. "Esta tarde te doy gracias mi Senor, te doy gracias mi creador, porque has tocado una parte de mi corazon. Al escuchar tu nombre me siento con gozo y felicidad. Quiero seguir este camino porque se que es lo bueno para mi salvacion. No quiero volver a caer a la perdicion." He had told his boss today that he needed Sundays off and that if they weren't going to give him that day off, he would quit. He said, "Si el trabajo me corre, pues tengo mi iglesia. Tengo mi Dios". we had yet another amazing lesson with him, but all of a sudden towards the end, he jumped up and said he had to go because his ex-wife was waiting for him and was going to get mad. Basically he ran away from the park. We were still sitting there pretty confused, when we got a phone call from him asking if we were still there because he had forgotten something. He came running back and said that as he was running home, something stopped him- a voice told him he needed to stop and go back because we hadn't prayed. He had stopped practically mid-step and came back because we hadn't closed with a prayer. This guy is INCREDIBLE. He came back and asked if I would say the closing prayer--I was a wreck haha I cried so much during that prayer- I had just barely realized that if we had gone to Hugo's baptism, we never would have met Gerardo. I was SO overwhelmingly grateful that Heavenly Father had kept me here and didn't let me go back even though I had persistently BEGGED to be allowed to go. I had just comprehended that Heavenly Father has a plan for everyone, and His plan for me was to stay in this area and find Gerardo. Heavenly Father's plan for Gerardo is to GAIN SALVATION AND LIVE FOREVER IN HIS KINGDOM and if I would have listened to my selfish desires, I wouldnt have been able to be a part of his plan... I don't know how to explain all the things I realized in that moment, but I was so grateful to Heavenly Father for preparing Gerardo and for placing us exactly where we needed to be in order to find him. 

We had another lesson with Gerardo on Saturday. HE CALLED US in the morning to remind us about our appointment-- hahaha i died that was the greatest moment ever.In the lesson, He told Heavenly Father in his prayer that he wanted to be the best he could for Him. It was such a great feeling to listen to his humility... Ah HE IS UNBELIEVABLE. 

Sunday was the greatest day :) He was on top of the world at church-- everyone was saying hi to him and he kept telling everybody how happy he was to meet them and to be at church. He told a little bit of his story in gospel principles and cried talking about how much happiness was in his heart. AH having him there at church was SO AMAZING.
He is honestly such a miracle and SO prepared to change his life. I am so grateful that we were able to meet him on Sunday and be here to help him make these changes that he has been wanting. This guy is INCREDIBLE. 

ON TOP OF IT ALL: around week 3 of this transfer, Davies, Johnson and I had done a specific prayer to find someone younger, that needs our help in his personal life, from Mexico, that lives with his cousins and is willing to do anything for lessons. We had prayed and Johnson said she felt like his name would be Sam. We even had picked a specific part of our area that we felt like he would be in. We've been praying for Sam for weeks. 
GERARDO IS SAM. Hermana Davies says SAM is just something Heavenly Father gave to us to get us looking for people specifically. She says SAM means Someone Accepting the Message. Gerardo is like 23, lives with his cousins, from Mexico, lives in that part of our area, needs help to make changes in his personal life, and willing to do ANYTHING like walk 10 minutes to get to a park for lessons. He is who we have been looking for.  

I am so grateful for this experience. I feel like I have learned SO much this last transfer about so many different things. There were a few really hard moments where I felt really weak, but I KNOW THAT I AM HERE FOR A REASON. I know that these past 6 weeks I have been with Hermanas Davies and Johnson for a reason and I am so grateful for them and what they have taught me. I know now more than ever that HEAVENLY FATHER'S WAYS ARE HIGHER THAN MY WAYS AND I CAN'T FIGHT HIS WILL. I know that I needed a major humility check and more than anything I needed to forget myself and get out there and FIND PEOPLE WILLING TO ACCEPT THE GOSPEL. I can't even express in words all that I have learned and felt this past few days, but my heart is SO FULL of gratitude. What I want is not important. What is important right now more than ever is learning how to make what Heavenly Father wants more important. What is important right now is learning to align my will WITH God's will so that I can be an instrument in His hands. He is the one that is going to do His work. I am just here to be His servant. 

I love the mission. I love you all SO much! Thank you for everything :) You are the greatest family and support system I could ever ask for. 
Have a great week! I love you!
Hermana Rogers

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Turning Point

I found out Tuesday morning that he told the missionaries to change his baptismal date a week sooner and nothing in the world could have made me happier! Honestly I don't even know how to describe the joy that filled me. This is what I have been praying for about 9 months now!!!!!!!! 

The most heartbreaking thing of my ENTIRE LIFE was not being able to go. I asked President in interviews, called him, texted him, Perez called him, Williams called him, and he wouldnt let us go. There is a rule in THE mission that you can't go back for baptisms if it has been more than one transfer, and I thought Hugo would be a different circumstance-- we taught him the whole time I was being trained, he left for Mexico and we kept talking to him through email, he came back right as I left and then has been setting baptismal dates since-- he is about to go BACK to Mexico and there is nothing else I wanted more than to be there for his baptism. Hugo changed my life and I wanted to be there so badly as he made this life-changing decision...but it wasn't possible. My heart hurt SO bad and I cried for approximately 5 days straight. BUT at the same time, I can't explain the joy that I feel that I was able to teach him and experience everything I did with him. I am a different person because of the Serrano family, and knowing that Hugo was ready and willing to be baptized makes me so happy. I always knew he would, he was SO prepared and he knows what the gospel will bring into his life. I love Hugo SO much!!!!!!!!! Ah I still cant believe that happened. :):):) That was definitely the biggest event of my week even though I couldn't be there. I was for sure there at heart. 

Other than that, this week was...intense to say the least. We had President's Interviews and I felt EXTREMELY humbled by my mission president. I know I have so much to work on and I have a long way to go, so it was good to hear everything from him- I know he is inspired and knows my needs better than I do, but some things were hard to hear. But at the same time- I am 9 months out on my mission and really needed this wake up call. Now is the time to turn things around and consecrate myself. If my heart isnt 100% here than I am not doing what I need to be doing. Basically I know now more than ever that I clearly haven't been doing a very good job forgetting myself. I hurt a lot emotionally this week and even though I know I am never alone, I felt like it a lot this week. There are so many rollercoasters on the mission-- I swear I have never experienced such a range of emotions haha but it is teaching me a lot. 

There is a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants that Hermana Johnson read to me that made me really feel like I have no reason to complain. It is ALWAYS better to look up. 

And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shallremain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.
Heavenly Father loves me. He is never going to leave me alone. Also in interview training, the Assistants to the President made a presentation about the plane ride home and pretending we were having a personal interview with the Savior about my mission. That hit me SO hard. I have NO TIME TO WASTE!! These were the thoughts I wrote down, 
"I am a representative of Jesus Christ. I am here to do His work, not mine. I am here to testify to every person He places in my path. I am here to learn and follow the Spirit. I am here because Heavenly Father sent me here- I am here to invite others to come unto Christ and be baptized unto repentance. I am here so that the doors to the Celestial Kingdom can be opened to my brothers and sisters. I am here to BECOME the person God wants me to become. I am not here for myself. I am here to fulfill my calling as a missionary. I am here to serve the Lord and come to know Him". That presentation was incredible and I want to be CHANGED. I need this to be a turning point- It was interesting because what they said in the presentation was similar to something mom wrote to me. 
"LOOK HOW FAR YOU HAVE COME ALREADY- YOU ARE NOT THE PERSON YOU USED TO BE." Then there was a picture of Christ that said, "Did I ever leave you?" Elder Mitchell said, "He has heard your voice, personally. He knows your cries... He will never leave you. Every day you leave your house, He leaves with you. As you walk the path He walked, you are following in His footsteps. Dont you ever forget how far you have come". 

A daughter of God
You are qualified!!" -President Drake

There is a song we like to listen to in the car that says,
"Let me hold you through and let me carry you. 
I know you feel you're at the end- 
but here your story's just beginning. 
I know your tomorrows. I know where you are. 
I know you can't see past the moment- I see beauty in the broken" and so many other cool lyrics. 

The coolest miracle we saw this week-- we were contacting and had been at it for quite a while and got a bunch of doors slammed in our face. Then we went to talk to this one guy- his name is MARCOS MEJIA FROM HONDURAS (the same name as Marco in West Lake) This guy is a former investigator, his wife has also talked to missionaries, and they welcomed us right in. The story is super cool but I don't have time to write it all out-- basically they have been looking for the church here, didnt know where to go, his wife had tried Jehovah's Witness and 7th Day Adventist and didn't like it, so when we came they were so happy! They are incredible and I am excited to keep working with them :) 

It has been a sufficiently crazy week-- I am sorry my thoughts were so scrambled- hopefully you can tell where I was going with all that! I love yall so much and can't wait to talk to you this Sunday! :) Thank you for everything! Have a great week! 
Love, Hermana Rogers