Contacting Elder Rainock:


Address: Elder Cordell B. Rainock
Mission Argentina Mendoza
Cabildo Abierto 161
5501 Godoy Cruz
Mendoza, Argentina

Sending Elder Rainock packages: It´d be best if any packages are sent in the large padded envelopes instead of boxes and contain very little value. (time frame: letters - 3 weeks, packages - around 1 month)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

no matter what conditions someone is in that they can pray

(written Dec 13th)

These last two weeks we have been doing lots of traveling for the zone conferences and have actually been able to work a lot in our area. I'm am completely wiped out right now. I'm hoping to get in a little power nap before P-day ends after writing this.

Last sunday we had a great lesson with a man that we met a few weeks back. We met him while we were doing service for some members and he was kind of apprehensive about talking to us. However, we managed to gain some of his trust and over the last two weeks his mentality towards has completely changed. This week we were actually able to set a baptismal date with him after a powerful lesson on the Gospel (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) and how if applied in his life he could be changed and become clean. At the end of the lesson he mentioned how he was planning on moving to Buenos Aires in a few weeks because he needed a change in his life. He told us that this was the change he thinks he was actually looking for... it was a great experience. Teaching him how to pray was a pretty fun experience as well.

At the end of the lesson he asked us to say a prayer because he felt as if he wasn't worthy. We assured him that no matter what conditions someone is in that they can pray. He insisted that we do it but he kept mentioning that, even though he didn't want to pray, he wanted to "say a few words" in the prayer. So Elder Garcia said the prayer and finished it. Then we said, "Alright, you can say your words now. Just start by addressing Heavenly Father because you are talking to him and end in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Without knowing it at the moment he gave one of the most heartfelt prayers I had ever heard. When he finished we told him that what he had just done was not only a prayer, but a very sincere one. He was really happy to have done it and he has been wanting to say the prayers in the lessons ever since. It was a fun and moving experience. I really love the people here in Argentina. I am going to miss moments likes this.

I also have some cool news. If you can think about 8 months back there was a young man that got baptized on my last day before coming here to the offices.. the young man was studying to be a lawyer. Well, every now and then President Goates needs young men from the local wards to fill in unexpected vacancies in the mission to prevent closing an area. This young man has been doing really well, has a calling as the ward librarian, will be receiving the Melchizedek priesthood tomorrow, and will be with our mission for the next 6 weeks as a 'mini missionary' as they are called. He is very excited as he is preparing to serve a full-time mission within the next year. 

The Lord has really been blessing me with opportunities to see some fruit of my labors recently. For me, it's a true showing of his love. He knows more than anyone that I would have been happy with my mission even if I didn't get to see any direct fruits but the fact that he is allowing me to see some before even leaving fills me with gratitude. 

Hope everyone is doing well back home! 


Elder Rainock

I love that the Lord is merciful.

(written Nov 29th)

I didn't think I'd get a good chance to write anything today but I got a minute so thought I'd type up a quick something. I'll only have four more chances after today so I've got to make the most out of my time.

This week we have been preparing for the many trainings and events during December while also doing a number of exchanges with the zone leaders. I really love exchanges because it always sets the stage for miracles. Everyone enters the exchange with faith and the desire to work hard and things always end up panning out - even if it wasn't in the way planned or imagined. 

I had the very special opportunity to have a lesson with a girl who is preparing for baptism (will actually be baptized this evening) and her family. It's been a while since I've been able to teach someone who was that close to baptism. The Spirit in those lessons are always very strong. The girl has been very eager and has been ready for a while but the parents have been struggling to get back to church. They are less-active in the church and have been off and on for 15 years or so. They have been to the temple and were sealed there as well. We were able to take the lesson aimed towards the little girl and broaden it to them as a family. We taught about our living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and about the Sabbath day. As we taught the little girl about the special part of the Sabbath day where we partake of the Sacrament we made sure to remind the parents that the Sacrament, when taken properly, renews all covenants and not just those made at baptism. I think they latched on to that idea because from that point on in the lesson they seemed a lot more hopeful and excited about coming back to church.

I love that the Lord is merciful. The sacrament is a great demonstration of his mercy and love for us. He allows us to not only enter into covenants with him (which covenants bless us) but he allows us to repent and renew those covenants as we don't always keep the terms. When we partake of the sacrament under the right conditions then our covenant is renewed and we can enjoy the instant blessings of that those covenants as well as trust in receiving future, greater blessings.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Sister Ashby (the mission nurse) made us a nice rice, chicken, and broccoli casserole. She taught me how to make some gravy to put on top. The gravy made it feel more homey. It was a nice lunch but no Thanksgiving naps here in the mission! 


Elder Rainock

When one puts into practice the principles of the Gospel in their lives it really works

(written Nov 22nd)

This week we did quite a bit of planning for the upcoming month. December is going to be a BIG one which also means it will fly by. We will have a zone conferences, two Christmas parties (half of the mission one day and the other half the next), a complicated transfer, and a training or two mixed in there.

Yesterday I was able to go out with Elder Rich on an exchange. The stars aligned perfectly for that to happen. Elder Rich is a zone leader in Godoy Cruz (the zone where I trained him). If you remember, Villa del Parque is an area that pertains to Godoy Cruz and is also the area where we were together. It is also the ward that I am in currently (for the second time). When we did exchanges yesterday we were able to work together again in Villa del Parque. It was a really cool experience. We were able to reminisce a little and visit some people that we worked with before. One of them is the family we found together that has been coming to church since. They are the ones I've written about before whose son just got baptized and are waiting for the father's divorce papers to go through so they can get married and baptized. They've already been together for over 20 years. They are so happy in the Gospel and have such strong testimonies. 

Unfortunately, they will be moving out of the ward this weekend. They are going to a far, outskirt part of the city. They were sad to find out a couple of weeks ago that they would have to move wards but are now at peace with it. She told us about a conversation she had with her son in regards to the situation. When she told him that moving meant having to change wards he started to cry because he loves the primary in our ward. Then she told us what she shared with him to help him be strong about it.. which almost brought me to tears!! She said, "one day you will be a missionary and will have to form relationships with people in a short period of time. Those relationships will be stopped temporarily as you have to move to other areas but you will form great relationships in those areas as well..." and she continued on from there. The part that really made me happy was the thought of him going on a mission. I remember when Elder Rich and I would go by there during the siesta hours, knock on the door, and he would come to the door half-asleep after his parents would send him to the door to tell us to come back the next day. Haha! She admits that they would do that and we have a good laugh about it. It's so nice to see the progress that they have made. 

Some of the most rewarding parts of my mission so far have been seeing (or hearing about) the long-term progress of a number of individuals. When one puts into practice the principles of the Gospel in their lives it really works. And it works every time. That is a key part of the testimony I have and that continues to grow. 

There are no regrets for those that decide to exercise faith unto repentance, enter into covenants through holy ordinances, and endure to the end. There are, and will only be, regrets for those that decide not to. There is also lasting joy in this life that will multiply in the next as we choose to be faithful followers of Christ. The path, to me, seems clear. 

Hope everyone is doing well back home and that you have a great Thanksgiving! What a great time to remember how we are so blessed. 

Elder Rainock

"don't ask me about the three Nephites because they never call or write." - Elder Christofferson

(written Nov 15th)

Now that I have some time to write about it I'll tell you guys about the meeting we had with Elder Christofferson last weekend. It was a wonderful experience. I was stressed out all week and that morning as we prepared for the meeting to start. Elder Christofferson was to enter the building at 9:30 and by then all missionaries had to be seated and reverent. It sounds simple but it was not an easy feat. The remaining missionaries to arrive showed up just minutes beforehand. Once Elder Christofferson walked in we were all waiting. Elder Garcia and I were waiting by the doors and he called us over to shake our hands and talk to us for a minute before going in. Just seeing him there in the building made all the stress of the week worth it and it was as if the weight was lifted off of me. All of the missionaries were able to shake his hand. The meeting started exactly at 10am and consisted of short testimonies from Elder Gonzalez (Area President and member of the First Quorum of the Seventy) and his wife, President Goates and his wife, the wife of Elder Christofferson, and the rest of the time was taken by Elder Christofferson himself. He gave a pretty humorous introduction, talked for about 20 minutes, and the remainder of the time he opened up to questions. 

I'll start off by sharing some of his funny remarks that he said at the beginning.

He mentioned that upon his arrival to Argentina (his first stop was actually in Mendoza) an Argentine man working at the airport spoke to him. He said that it was probably a couple of phrases but it just sounded like one long word. He then said that he knew a little bit of spanish but knew nothing of castellano (that's what they call spanish here). It was funny to hear because I can relate to it. 

Elder Christofferson also mentioned something that I had heard before but forgot all about. Elder Richard G. Scott was his mission president! They are now both serving together in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He mentioned that Elder Scott directed and mentored him in those days and continues to now. Elder Christofferson said that Elder Scott knows all of his failures and weaknesses but he still doesn't know any of his... haha! He told us that he wonders when they meet together on a weekly basis, and Elder Christoffeirson walks into the room, if Elder Scott thinks to himself, "¿que hace éste acá?" (what is this guy doing here). 

I'd also like to mention what he said before opening up the question and answer section, "don't ask me about the three Nephites because they never call or write." Ha! As I'm about to start this section I realize that this is going to be a very long entry so I hope you hang in there with me. I'll write about two questions that were asked and a summary of his answers. 

I'll start with the shorter one in which someone asked about helping people overcome addictions. The missionary said that he has been working with someone for a few weeks that is really struggling with addiction. This person is going to church, reading the scriptures daily, and pleading for help from the Lord. They aren't seeing any results and the person is starting to feel that the Lord has forgotten them.

Elder Christofferson said that the Lord suffered for each and every one of us so profoundly and on such an individual basis that it would be impossible for him to forget us. He then stated that if the Lord were to forget him then he would be the first person the Lord has ever forgotten.. it just doesn't happen. He reminded the missionary about the power that comes from reading the Book of Mormon specifically and the knowledge that is gained through prayerful study of it. The Book of Mormon goes into depth about the Atonement and Elder Christofferson stated that in order to overcome weaknesses we must deepen our knowledge of the Atonement. To finalize his statement he said something very interested - he told the missionary, "if that person is truly fighting then remind him that he can speak with confidence before the Lord as he pleads for help." I really loved that statement as it was a reminder to me of the essence of prayer. 

I'd like to share this second question because it reminded me of an experience I had as a young teenager. When he was telling his experience as an answer to this question I couldn't believe how wildly similar his experience was to mine. I don't think I have ever shared this other than in my testimony at youth conference when I had this experience over 5 years ago. 

First things first, the question that was asked was how Elder Christofferson gained his testimony. Elder Christofferson mentioned that his testimony didn't come in a moment or with one single experience. His testimony came, as it does for many, through building precept upon precept. He said that his experience is similar to many in the fact that it didn't come from a single experience but from many smaller experiences and more than anything "confirmations" of truth. He said that the Lord works in that way, that as we study and worship he shows his mercy by giving us many confirmations of truth from which we can build on. He is merciful in the fact that those confirmations are reminders and that he doesn't just give us one big experience to depend on for our whole lives. He then shared an experience he had as a youth with a visit he made to the Sacred Grove. He had set in his mind that he was going to pray in the Sacred Grove and have some big testimony building experience. He described the build up to the prayer, his prayer, and then waiting to an answer that didn't end up coming until a couple of weeks later when he was studying in his home. Even then, the answer wasn't a manifestation or vision but rather a simple confirmation from the Spirit that these things were true and that is really enough.

I had a pretty similar experience. One of my first Youth Conferences as a youth was a trip to see historical sites of the church in the northeast, one of them being the Sacred Grove. I knew that we would be visiting the grove where Joseph Smith had the his proclaimed First Vision; by chance, I just so happened to be reading the Book of Mormon for the first time. So I decided to time it out so that I would finish the last chapter of the Book of Mormon in the Sacred Grove and follow through with Moroni's promise there in the very place. 

The day arrived in which we were to visit the sacred grove. I read a few of the last chapters leading up to the end of the Book of Mormon trying to intently take in the information and left the last chapter to read in the grove. Upon arrival to the grove I split off on my own to have some time to read, reflect, and pray. Everything happened perfectly in my plan up until that point. I eagerly finished the last chapters of Moroni 10 (even reading versus 3-5 a few times to make sure I was doing it right), meditated upon what I had learned, and knelt down to offer a sincere prayer in regards to its truthfulness. 

I got nothing... it felt like a big blank. I even felt a little bad due to disappointment. I set off to walk out of the grove to wait for everyone else. I didn't irrationally determine that all that I had ever known was suddenly untrue but it was the first time I ever really questioned. As I was walking out I saw my dad walking along the trail, he was alone as well, just taking it all in. He talked to me for a minute without any idea of what had just happened to me. I wanted to pour out my experience to him and ask for his help but I was also a young teenage boy and would never think of doing such a thing ;) So I didn't. In this case it actually turned out to be okay because it allowed to me think it out on my own and has turned in to a key part of my testimony. When we finished our small-talk he walked off and I sat down by myself on one of the benches in the woods. 

I started asking myself what this could mean, why I didn't get an answer when I was fully expecting one, why God would choose not to answer me in that moment. I asked myself what it would mean if I decided that these things weren't true and chose a different path in life. That question is one that often helps me realize, more than anything, the truthfulness of the Gospel and what it offers to it faithful followers. In that time of reflection I was able to think of all the experiences I had had in the Gospel up until that point, I thought of the stirrings of the Spirit as I read the Book of Mormon, and I thought of moments in which I had felt the soft but undeniable burning of the Spirit from within. I realized that I didn't need some grand experience or manifestation to know the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel. I already knew from what it had to offer me and from the small stirrings I had had that it was true. And really, the confirmation of that principle and key part of my testimony didn't come until a couple of years later. 

I know I haven't always made the best choices in my life. My testimony then wasn't what it is now. And what it is now is a small portion of what I hope it to be after many years of service for the Lord in the future. Although my testimony has always been there doesn't mean that I have made the best choices but the consequences of my choices, fortunately, have allowed me to gain an even stronger testimony after repentance. 

Well, that's enough for my little tangent experience. But if any of you are feeling like the Lord hasn't answered you then just think about it for a minute, reflect, and give it some time. The Lord answers in his own time and when he knows it is right. The fact that he will answer it in the right time will mean that you will be more ready and that the answer will mean more when you receive it. 

I guess I ended up talking more about myself than Elder Christofferson but I felt like sharing that testimony of mine with you all. I hope you were able to get a little something either from what he or I said. Have a great week!

Elder Rainock

busiest week this mission has ever expereinced

(written Nov 1st)

This week has involved a lot of planning as we prepare for the busiest week this mission has ever expereinced... Let me give you the run down.

Sunday: Missionaries going home come in to have their final interviews, verifying numbers for the week with the zone leaders
Monday: President finishes the final interviews and the missionaries going home have their final dinner with president
Tuesday: Missionaries go home and new missionaries come in. They eat dinner and are taken to their locations to sleep. 
Wednesday: Transfer day, trainings with new missionaries and their trainers and they leave to their areas
Thursday: Day of prep for Friday and Saturday
Friday: Leadership Council in the morning and then a training with those who arrived to the mission last transfer in the evening. 
Saturday: Meeting with Elder Christofferson
Sunday: Day of rest! 

Leadership council is usually about 2 days of preparation in itself and the meeting with Elder Christofferson has taken several weeks to prepare (with plenty more things to do). Planning for these meetings includes what will be taught, travel of missionaries, where missionaries will sleep (if coming from far away and need to come in the day before), meals, and a number of other things. It's been quite the deal! For me, the mission has not only been spiritual preparation for a life dedicated to serving the Lord but also preparation for running a Fortune 500. Ha! 

Aside from that this week we have been fortunate enough to work a decent amount in our area. One evening we decided to go by the Patriarch's home to ask if he could visit an investigator with us later on in the week (the appointment ended up falling through). When we walked up to their home they were just arriving from the stake center after spending the day there doing family history work. They invited us in and we sat down. Them being an older couple, and being Argentinians (Italian roots), really like to talk. So we did what we do best and listened. 

They both come from some of the original member families here in Mendoza. They told me the first missionary came here by himself from Buenos Aires in the late 1940's. He found moderate success but upon returning 50 years later he came to find several stakes full of active members. 

Both of their families joined the church in the mid 1950's and have been pioneers in sharing the gospel and establishing the church here in Mendoza. It was very interesting to learn more about the beginnings of the church here and how far it has come in a little over half a century. It also made me feel lucky because I feel like I'm in a place that is in its beginnings. I look forward to visiting the people again one day and seeing how it has grown. 

What really stood out to me in the conversation is this couples purity. When you are in their presence and when they speak there is neither anything negative nor crude. They are continually involved in doing good and set themselves apart from the things of the world as much as they can. They talked to us about how they have to make efforts all the time in order to keep themselves in holy places. If there is any activity or place that is questionable they don't get involved. 

Seeing them was another reminder to me that the things of the world really aren't what bring happiness. They are one of the happiest couple I have ever met while having a handful of struggles at the same time (he is going blind). They only participate in wholesome and uplifting activities and for that being with them just makes you feel happy and safe. 

The teaching of living righteous lives and doing going continually is one that I've since been using in the teaching opportunities we've had this week. I think we all just need a reminder sometimes where true happiness comes from. For example, a church service project may not seem as enticing as going out to a movie. But I don't remember any movie that has left me with that warm, enduring, satisfying feeling that comes from serving others. It's something that only takes a little bit of reflection to realize but for some reason the choices can still be difficult. 

I hope that everyone is doing well and that you have a great week!

Much love,

Elder Rainock

Daily scripture study, weekly church attendance, and constant prayer are principles that give us the strength to avoid the temptations

(written Oct 25th)

Well, I can officially announce it now; we have known about it for a few months but until it was confirmed we weren't able to say anything or announce it. Elder Christofferson will be coming to our mission on the 8th of next month! He will actually be coming for a leadership meeting but will take advantage of being here to have a few other meetings including one with all of the missionaries in the mission! I am very excited and I paid extra special attention to his conference talk this month because of it :) If you don't remember, he is the one that opened his talk with the statement "Muy buenos días!" 

This week has been an especially good week. The next two weeks will be a very different story but this week we had very few duties to take care of in the offices so we were able to work for several hours each day. 

On Thursday we were able to visit a new member who was baptized about a year ago when I was in the area before. He has been a heavy smoker for his whole life. He is about 40 years old and has been smoking since he was 8! He said he stopped for about a year when he was 12 years old but other than that he has been smoking heavily. He was baptized after finding strength in reading the scriptures, going to church, and praying to get away from his addiction. He went for a month without smoking before being baptized and then continued strong for about 4 months after his baptism. He then moved to Buenos Aires for a job opportunity. He attended church there every now and then and even went on visits with the missionaries but without his family support and stress from his job not being what he thought it'd be he fell out of his newly formed habits of scripture study, church attendance, and prayer, and returned to his old addiction of the cigarette. 

I found out this week that he had returned from Buenos Aires so I made sure I could see him as soon as possible. I was nervous that he would tried to avoid us or be confrontational as many are when they fall back into there habits. He received us kindly into his home and told us all that had happened to him within the last year. He admitted to returning to his addiction but asked for our help so that he could quit again. 

I told him that when he asked for help from us that the first thing that came to my mind wasn't an intricate plan or an expensive treatment... it was the basic gospel principles of scripture study, church attendance, and prayer that fortify ones ability to avoid sin and be righteous. He recognized that he had lost power to avoid the temptation because he had broken those good habits. He even told us about how he loved the scriptures and how when he reads them he has no desire to smoke. In the month before he was baptized he had already read the Book of Mormon once through and after his baptism he read it two times before moving to Buenos Aires. He committed to begin reading again and to stop smoking.

Yesterday we went to his house to do service for him. We moved a big pile of sand to the back of his house where he will be mixing it to make concrete for a new kitchen floor. While we were helping him he told us how he had begun to read again and was already on page 40 of the Book of Mormon. He said that his cigarette intake was already at half of what is was and that he will be off of them completely in a few days. 

I wanted to share this today to remind everyone of the importance of those three basic principles of growth and strength. Daily scripture study, weekly church attendance, and constant prayer are principles that give us the strength to avoid the temptations that loom around every corner of life's daily tasks. In the story that I shared it is easy to see the impact that those principles played in his life and his ability to avoid sin. Our stories may not be as clear but anyone can see the difference it has if they reflect on the times in their lives where they have been diligent in doing those things and times when they have not. I know these habits have greatly affected my life and have brought me to not only better avoid sin but to love righteousness. 

I hope every is doing well and happy. I am happy, a little tired, but looking forward to the next couple weeks of busyness and upliftment with Elder Christofferson. 

Here are a few pictures from Elder Garcia's birthday. We decided to surprise him by singing him happy birthday and trying to bring a little bit of Mexico to him (mustaches). We had a good time and he even joined in on the fun by putting one on himself! 


Elder Rainock

"those kind of questions of the soul motivate me to do good and change"

(written Oct 18th)

Although there wasn't much on the schedule this week it ended up being busy for us here in the offices. On the days where we thought we didn't have much to do things kept on happening but it's nice to be kept on your toes. 

I have also been able to review a number of the conference talks and ones that especially meant a lot to me. I have been yearning for months to get more out of partaking of the sacrament and it just so happened that there were two conference talks given on that very subject. The sacrament is something I have taken my whole life and unfortunately I don't feel like I have a lifetime's worth of knowledge or understanding on the subject nor have I always partaken of the sacrament for what it really is. Fortunately I have had experiences, like going without it, that have helped me recognize its importance. 

The talk that really helped me gain a better appreciation for the sacrament was that by Elder Hamula of the Seventy. I often try to reflect on the Atonement of Jesus Christ as I partake of the sacrament to help me "feel" it a little more. Sometimes I have even felt like I am forcing myself because my strong desire to get more out of it. That hasn't always brought the desired result even though my appreciation for the Savior and His Atonement is above all else. Elder Hamula began his talk by speaking of the Sacrament in regards to the Savior and His sacrifice and was I listening attentively because it is a subject that has been on my mind. Then he said a phrase the really grabbed my attention, "The sequence of bread first and water second is not inconsequential." He then began to explain the symbolism of the sacrament not just in regards to the Savior and His sacrifice but in the great scheme of things, or in other words, the Plan of Salvation. This opened my eyes to a whole new world of meaning and purpose in the sacrament which I could explore. 

What helped me really appreciate that phrase was his explaining of partaking of the bread first to come to the realization that Christ resurrected and we too will be resurrected. He then said, "The fundamental question facing all of us is not whether we will live but with whom we will live after we die." I really loved that because those kind of questions of the soul motivate me to do good and change. It reminds me of Alma in Alma chapter 5 when he asks the people to which he is preaching a number of questions to get them thinking of their actual state and how they will feel upon entering the presence of God to be judged. And it is for that that we partake of water. It represents His blood which was shed for us and through which we may become clean. If we do so we can know with a surety with whom we will live - our Father in Heaven. I know that I want to be in His presence and I want my family to be there as well. 

I'm grateful for that understanding I gained during general conference which fortified my testimony of the sacrament. I was able to share that testimony last Sunday after an unfortunate circumstance in church. There was a disputation between two sisters and one of them being a recent convert. After the class the recent convert left crying to the bathroom which no one noticed because she left quickly to avoid anyone from seeing here. I was lucky enough to see it and positioned myself near the bathroom as we waited for everyone to take their seats in the sacrament room (sacrament meeting being the last meeting here). She walked out of the bathroom and headed out the door so my companion and I followed closely behind to talk to her for a minute. We were able to help her feel a little better about the situation and I was able to share my testimony on the importance of the sacrament. I felt the assurance of the Spirit and she looked more calm. She decided to leave anyways because she was embarrassed but promised that she would come back and that she would get over it quickly. A number of members have been able to visit her this week and she is doing a lot better; she even helped in preparing a Relief Society activity yesterday so things are looking good. I'm grateful that I was able to share a sincere testimony with her which I hope she could feel. I'm even more grateful for the great members we have here that work hard in helping the new members of the ward because, honestly, they have been doing most of the work in helping this sister.

I hope that all are doing well!


Elder Rainock