Packages

Contacting Elder Rainock:

E-mail: cordell.rainock@myldsmail.net

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)

Monday, June 25, 2012

"the gospel can be made to help anything"

I will be in Highlands Ranch for another 6 weeks at least. We had transfer calls on Saturday. I don't have my visa yet and they are keeping me here in Highlands Ranch with Elder Peck. They don't like to fly people out in the middle of transfers anymore so even if I got my visa tomorrow I'd have to wait six weeks. That's okay though, I really like it here. I am a little worried about my Spanish but I'm taking good advantage of my language study time.
 
The people here live a super active lifestyle and it is a great place to live one. From mountain biking, hiking, camping, running, swimming, tennis, golf, etc.. Colorado is a great place to be. Oh, and I have never seen so many jeeps in my life. About every 10th car is a jeep wrangler, it's pretty awesome. There are also some beautiful (but gated) developements here with some houses that would knock me off my feet. We have members that live in most of these communities so we have the code to get in so we can work with them.
 
Anyways, on to more spiritual things :)
 
We have been working with a bunch of members here lately to get the work moving here in Highlands Ranch. The ward hasn't had a convert baptism in over 3 years. However, the ward is extremely large and new families are moving in all the time.
 
We taught some great lessons this week! I love being here out in the field. We get to work with people in so many varied situations of life. It's awesome how the Gospel can be made to help anything. All problems, concerns, and trials we face can be helped with some aspect of the Gospel; it's a beautiful thing.
 
This week I was a part of something special and I know that the Priesthood authority is on the earth today. I am grateful for that and to be a witness of God's power. His love is abounding and His miracles are never ceasing.
 
Saturday night we went to a baptism of someone that Elder Peck taught in his last area. He was a middle-aged man and had come a long way. His family had always been members but he never had any interest. President Maynes (the Denver South mission president) was there and spoke on baptism. It was a great day for that man and his family.
 
I am grateful to be a part of this work and to be here in the Denver South mission. I feel of the Lord's strength and love every day. I see Him working in my life and in the life of those around me. I'm praying for you guys back home and thank you for all of your prayers.
 
Love,

Elder Rainock

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The keystone of our religion

It has been a great week. We have made some good contacts, worked with a TON of members, and had some good companionship study.
On Monday, after I got done emailing, we went and dunked with Rocky (the mascot for the Denver Nuggets) off a trampoline he set up in one of the local church gyms. It was awesome!! Rocky did a little flip dunk for us and we all had a good time. 


video
video
We had a dinner appointment that night at a part-member family home. One of their pet snakes had gotten loose a few weeks before and they hadn't been able to find him.. well them found him. The dad was in the basement and found it caught in a mouse trap :/ It was pretty sad for the family (except for the mom who hadn't been able to sleep for weeks because of it).
On Tuesday we had some great lessons and we lost our keys. We looked everywhere for them about 10 times.. turned out they were in my shirt pocket. Elder Peck had used them and tossed them in my shirt pocket while I was on the phone with some other Elders. I never keep them there so I didn't think to look.. haha. My shirt pocket is always heavy with pass along cards and other stuff so that didn't raise an alarm to me.
Wednesday night we had a good less with a man who is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He has been struggling recently and needed some upliftment for him and his family. It was a great lesson, everyone was uplifted, the spirit was felt, and laughs were had.
Thursday we had a great district meeting. I gave a training on the difference between the Reformation and Restoration that went well. I probably learned more from preparing the training than the Elders I taught learned. We also met with a crazy guy who lives in a trailer - he is quite the character and has had a rough life.. neverthless his is always full of insight and seems to know his purpose in this life pretty well. He is one of those examples of people that you shouldn't judge by their appearance.
Friday during breakfast Elder Peck witnessed a hawk taking out a little black-bird in the back yard. I missed it but still got to see the hawk sitting their with the bird in its' mouth. We always went to the newly renovated Highlands Ranch mansion. It was the original mansion home that sat on 10's of thousands of acres here in Colorado. It has been run down for a long time but there was a recent 6 million dollar renovation done. It is now a place for weddings, receptions, parties.. etc. We went to get out and public and make contacts, it went well and a lot of people asked why we were wearing name tags.. haha. So we gave them the business.
Saturday we made some good contacts, knocked on some doors, and followed up on the new member missionary program that we are doing with members.
Sunday we had some investigators at church and that was nice. It is always great to see them come and take that step of faith. It can be intimidating for new members but they never seem to regret it. We have great, open, and warm wards here that always welcome unfamiliar faces. We had an awesome lesson with an investigator lady and brought along a recently returned missionary along with us. He was in Mexico, injured his foot, was receiving terrible medical care (they even gave him a pregnancy test?), and his foot was only getting worse. So he got sent home early on a medical release to get treated here. Anyways, our lesson with him was great. For dinner we had a pork roast at a member's home with some of the best BBQ sauce I have ever tasted.. he made it himself.
I'd like to end with some personal revelation I have received this week. I have always felt uncomfortable when we say "the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion." As soon as I hear that I start wondering why we claim the Bible to be of equal importance when we call the Book of Mormon the keystone. It has something that has always bothered me. As I was reading the introduction to the Book of Mormon this week and received an answer to this personal issue. The last paragraph in the introduction states,
"Those who gain this divine witness (that the Book of Mormon is true after reading it) from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in the last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord's kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah."
It was then I realized that the phrase "the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion" is unrelated to the Bible. Our church claims to be the restored gospel of Jesus Christ that He established while on the earth, we claim to have a prophet who receives revelation from God, we claim the Book of Mormon to be the word of God, we claim that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet of God in these Latter days to restore that church (just like it has been done many times through prophets throughout history), we claim that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, etc...
Those are bold claims, and either they are true or they are not. The way we can know if all those things are true is through the Book of Mormon. When we gain a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true, we gain a testimony that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world because the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ. When we gain a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true we gain a testimony that Joseph Smith was his revelator and prophet because if he were not, God would not have given him the power to translate it from the plates. When we gain a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true we gain a testimony that this is the restored church because it is the medium by which it was brought forth by a prophet.
I have a testimony that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. Not because it is more important than the Bible, because it isn't. But because it supports all of our claims.. when we know the Book of Mormon is true, we know it is all true.
I hope everyone is doing well, your prayers are being felt and I am praying for you back home as well.
Love, Elder Rainock

Monday, June 18, 2012

"we like to sing loud and proud"

 written June 11
 
Elder Peck and I had a great week. The work is progressing and we made some great contacts. We get along pretty well and keep each other laughing. Every time we have companionship study or planning we belt out hymns because we like to sing loud and proud.. even though it sounds pretty flat and terrible. There is no word on the visa stuff and there won't be any until I pretty much have it in my hands.
 
On Monday night I got to share the message of the Restoration with a lady in our ward in Spanish. I did it to practice Spanish but also to invite the Spirit into their home; the best way to gain the trust of members is to bring the Spirit into their homes. So I am getting a decent amount of practice with the language along with my hour of language study each morning.
 
Tuesday was my first day on a bike.. it was pretty rough because of the altitude and I don't have much stamina. Also it seemed like the wind was in our faces all day; we'd be going one with the wind in our face and then turn around and it'd start blowing the other way, haha. The heat wasn't too bad (even though it almost hit 100) because it isn't humid here. We made some good contacts and had some good lessons with members. We are working on putting names on the ward roster with faces.
 
On the first Wednesday of every month we get to go to the temple. That was a nice surprise because I wasn't expecting to go to the temple again until after my mission since we wouldn't have one in my area in Mendoza. That day I went on splits with another missionary and I went to his area. We helped address some concerns people had and had some fantastic lessons with some members. That night we went to a members home - the mother had a southern accent. It made me feel like I was back in Virginia; that was kind of refreshing. Also we talked to a man walking his half husky + half wolf around... It definitely looked like a wolf though. It was bigger than the fully grown St. Bernard that another family we are teaching has.
 
On Thursday morning we had a great district meeting with the missionaries in our district. We had lessons on desires, faith, and charity. It was very inspiring to me. The Lord grants unto us according to our desires and our faith. If we desire to for others to hear the word of God and we have faith that God will place those people in our path.. that is exactly what will happen. It's hard to keep that faith and desire when you get an earful from atheists or anti-Mormons but it's important to just move on and carry on with the work. One thing that Elder Peck says after we run into those people is, "that's just an apology we can look forward to on the other side".. we get a good laugh and it lifts our spirits a little.
We also had two dinner appointments on Thursday... We forgot about one of them until we were already 10 minutes late.. to top it off the dinner was a about 30 minutes away. We were a late for that but it was with a super nice member family so we were forgiven. Another thing that Elder Peck likes to say is "it's a great day for America".. It's pretty funny. When we wake up in the morning, when something good happens, when something bad happens, you can count on him saying it. Good times..
 
On Friday I had the biggest snow cone of my life. When the girl was making it I was amazed at how big it was... and she kept on adding more... it was delicious but waaay too much sugar. I definitely overdosed on sugar that day because some members gave us cookies and desserts that we can't deny.. haha. We had a good dinner that night and shared a new member missionary program with two member families. The importance of members in the missionary work is sometimes unrecognized. But when people are introduced to the church through members they already have a social support system. It is important that people are baptized, but it is even more important that they continue coming to be continually nourished by the word. Baptism is not a final decision and an end, it is just the beginning.
 
Saturday was a very solid day. We really have to take advantage of Saturdays because it is when most people are home. We met with a bunch of members for the new member missionary program and made some good contacts for some potential investigators.
 
Church on Sunday was nice and the rest of the day was pretty similar to Saturday.
 
Today is P-day and we have something pretty awesome on the schedule!! The mascot (Rocky) for the Denver Nuggets is LDS and is bringing his trampoline and mats to one of the church buildings in our zone for the missionaries. DUNK FEST!!! I'll have some good videos and pictures of that that I'll send home next week.
 
I'm praying for all of you. Things are great here in Highlands Ranch.. just living the dream.
 
Alma 31: 34-35

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"It is beautiful here and I love it"

written June 6th

I arrived in the Denver Colorado South mission early Saturday morning for my reassignment. It is beautiful here and I love it so far. I am in a very nice area called Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The people are great and make me feel like I am at home. I am not in a Spanish speaking area but I still have an hour of language study each morning so I'm going to need to take good advantage of that time.
 
Elder Morley and I left for the Denver South mission early on Saturday morning while Elders Marsh, Hurley, and Hone got reassigned to the Colorado Springs mission. Elder Morley and I both had opportunities to share the Gospel on the plane and it was good experience.
 
My trainer is Elder Peck and he has taught me a ton so far. He is very friendly to everyone and has been blessed as a very good peoples' person. His teaching abilities are excellent and he is a very good communicator. I am learning from one of the best.
 
My first day in the field they had a baptism set up so I got to be there for that. Her name is Lori and she is a super happy all the time. Apparently she has come a long way and it was great to see her be baptized into the church.
 
Sunday was nice and I met a ton of fantastic members at church. We serve over two different wards - the Roxborough ward and Highlands Ranch ward. We had dinner at a members house and they told us some crazy mountain lion stories that occurred right in their back yard. We also saw a deer just chilling in the garden of one of the houses nearby so I got a quick picture of it.
 
This morning we studied and played some basketball since it is P-day. I'm excited to get back to work tonight though. I haven't gone a day yet without meeting some interesting people.. some very interesting people, haha. But that is what keeps things..well.. interesting.
 
I am having a great time here. This mission is fantastic and I'm glad to be here. I am praying for all of you and thank you all for your prayers. 
 
 
 Pointing to my two mission areas

Sunrise when I was leaving Provo

Me, Elder Peck, Elder Castillo (the one who helped Elder Peck prepare her for baptism) and Lori.

A deer just chilling in the garden by a house. 
 
 
 

Friday, June 1, 2012

"Less than a week left... and I don't know where I'm going"

 written May 29th - since writing this email, Cordell has discovered that he will be spending the first part of his mission in the Denver, Co South mission, and will stay until he can get his VISA to Argentina.  He leaves the MTC on Saturday.

Less than a week left in the MTC and I don't know where I'm going.. haha. But I think it's pretty exciting to not know where I'll be serving right away. I'm preparing to teach the Gospel either way and wherever I go there will be people who need it. Spanish is coming along fine and we are being pretty dilligent in our district about speaking it as much as we can.
Elder Marsh and I are 2 of about 16 Elders who have been chosen to start some lessons when the new missionaries come in on Wednesday. What the new missionaries do on their first day is get situated in their residence, classrooms, and then teach investigators in large groups of about 30. I think I remember mentioning it in my first blog entry. Anyways, they have missionaries that have been here for a while kick-start the lesson and get it rolling for the new missionaries. So that is what Elder Marsh and I are going to do.. no pressure.
In class this week we reviewed a talk by Gene R. Cook called "Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ." There are two types of faith. One type of faith is faith to know something will happen - and you wait for that thing to happen. There is another type of faith - that is the faith to MAKE things happen. This talk is about faith to make things happen. It was very inspirational for me.
I don't have much more to write this week, but I am doing well. I can't wait to get out into the field! The next email I'll be sending will be from the mission field.. wherever it is that the Lord needs me at this time. Although I have been here for 8 weeks I still learn so much every single day. Some people are nervous about not knowing everything before they leave.. but learning is something we'll be doing our whole lives. If the Lord wanted the smartest, wisest, most knowledgable missionaries he wouldn't be calling 19 year old boys. He has called us to build His kindgdom and to build ourselves. I expect to learn something new about the Gospel every day of my mission. If I don't then I am doing something wrong. And although I may not know every single answer.. I trust in the Lord that he will allow me to say what I need to say.. when I need to say it.
I love all of you guys and I am continuing to pray for you. I know I am being blessed from all of your prayers back home. I hope all is well. Don't worry about me because if there is any time in my life that I'll be safe, this is it.
"No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, columny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldy, nobly, and independent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord


(written May 22nd)

Two weeks left in the MTC! I can't wait to get out into the field. I am still growing tons every day but I want to get out and teach. I haven't received any news yet about reassignments but that will probably be in another week or so. It doesn't matter where I go because there are people to teach everywhere. With that being said, I still hope I eventually end up in Mendoza but if that's not the case then I will be glad to serve wherever. "I'll go where you want me to go, Dear Lord."
 
At our devotional on Tuesday Elder L. Tom Perry from the Quorum of the Twelve spoke. I never realized how tall he is! It was unfortunate because the podium wasn't quite high enough for the mic to reach his mouth so the whole talk was quiet and hard to hear. He spoke on the Priesthood though and it was a nice message.
 
We started teaching a new investigator named Jose this week and that has been pretty nice. It is crazy to see how far we've come in the last 7 weeks! On our first day here we struggled to talk through a 3 minute lesson in Spanish - on Saturday we had a lesson for 50 minutes in Spanish in the TRC (Training Resource Center) on the Doctrine of Christ. If you put in effort, the Lord will help you; I can definitely see that taking place in my life.
 
One thing we have learned in the MTC is that we are teaching people, not lessons. We need to make sure we are finding the people's needs and trying to help them solve them. As Elder Marsh and I have implemented this into our lessons we have seen them become exponentially better. Instead of going in with a word for word lesson planned out we study a certain topic that we feel the person might need help with. After talking with the person and getting to know their needs at the beginning of the lesson we either speak about how what we have studied can help them or we are prompted by the Spirit to go another direction. That has happened many times in our lessons and they turn out great. Elder Marsh and I come out so pumped from good lessons (haha, the things we get excited about as missionaries). We know when they are good because the Spirit is felt very strongly.
 
Sunday was a great day of spiritual growth for me. Our devotional speaker was President Robert Daines (President of the Provo MTC Temple). He gave a great talk on temples and was an extremely powerful speaker. I gained a lot from it. I read the book "Our Search For Happiness" on Sunday since we have so much study time on Sundays. Elder Marsh and I also gave a lesson in our district devotional on prayer that went well.
 
All these things have been great this week, but something I have been searching dilligently this week is the love of God. I have been studying in my personal study to learn more about the love of God. I want to know how to better share that love so others can feel it as well - on Sunday it really hit me with one of the ways I can do that. It came in a way that I wasn't expecting though. In our Priesthood lesson we were learning about the Atonement (Christ's sacrifice for us); I started thinking to myself, "man, I wish I could know what Christ felt so I could come to a better understanding of what He went through for us"... the truth is.. we can never come to a complete understanding of what He suffered for us. People can study the Atonement for their whole lives without coming to that perfect knowledge of what He felt. But then it hit me.. even though we can't feel what Christ felt - we can feel the reason why. It was the strongest impression I have ever received. I quickly turned to John 3:16 where it talks about God's love and His sending of His Son. I have read that scripture many times and have heard it my whole life.. but it hit me hard this time.. my emotions were high and I knew I had received revelation on something that I had been searching for all week. So what is one way we can share the love of God with others? Through teaching the Atonement of Christ.
 
God answers our prayers in His own time and in His own ways. If we do our part and have patience our prayers will always been answered. I love you all and hope you are doing well. My prayers are with you all at home.
 
Love,
- Elder Rainock

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"I'll go where the Lord wants me to go"

 (written May 15th)

Well, I'm going to start with the bad news again. Argentina has completely stopped giving out visas for now. So... I''ll proably be reassigned in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully I'll eventually end up in Mendoza but you never know. If I'm in my reassigned area for too long, most likely they'll just keep me there. Either way, I'll go where the Lord wants me to go.

This week has a been a huge week of learning for me. It started with the devotional last Tuesday night where D. Todd Christofferson from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke to us. He and his wife shared some good insight on loving the people we teach and gave a talk on the Doctrine of Christ. Afterwards my Branch President had a awesome discussion with us. Here are some things he shared:
 - As missionaries, we need to give our all; when we give our all, we are given no limits because God will bless us with all He has for us. God is always willing to give His all and Jesus Christ gave his all for us - as representatives of Jesus Christ, we need to be willing to give our all for them as well.
- In Spanish, the word for God is Dios. ¨DiĆ³ su Hijo¨ means God gave His son. Just thought that was interesting.
- Also, a reason that parents are so blessed when their children serve missions may be because they are willing to give their children for the work of our Father in Heaven.

I've learned this week the importance of having effective companionship study time. Elder Marsh and I have stepped it up the past week in our companionship studies and it has really shown in our rock solid lessons. We are really progressing in both the language and the Gospel. Tomorrow will be our first Spanish only day with no exceptions.

On Saturday we watched some awesome clips from a talk that Elder Bednar gave here at the MTC a while back. It was about the difference between understanding and mental comprehension. I really got a lot out of the talk, here are some notes from it:
 - Understanding is not mental comprehension, understanding changes attitude and behavior.
- When what we know in our head moves to our heart through the power of revelation by the Holy Spirit - that's the beginning of understanding.
- Doctrine is truth revealed that leads to our eternal progression.
- No matter what our investigators want to know about the Church or what crazy questions they have, it'll always be the simple, foundational, and fundamental Doctrine that will help them bring them closer to Christ and desire more.
- Two questions we need to ask ourselves when teaching someone: What doctrine, if understood, would address the specific challenge they are having? What can I do to help them learn and apply this doctrine?

During the week we have extra study time where we can choose what type of study we want to do (personal study, companionship study, or langauge study). Often times we decide to take a break and get on LDS.org to watch conference talks or Mormon Messages... you wouldn't believe how much I look forward to just being able to watch something..haha.

Anyways, I watched two talks this week be Elder Holland (of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles). I watched one of them because it's my favorite talk of all time and I hadn't watched it since being here. I chose the other one randomly because Elder Holland is my favorite speaker and I just wanted to hear another one of his talks. They are both powerful, factual, and logical talks on the Book of Mormon.

- The first one is called 'My Words..Never Cease'. I like it because it factually and logically explains why it is okay to have another testament of Jesus Christ (such as the Book of Mormon) for scripture along with the Old and New Testaments.
- The second one is my favorite talk called 'Safety for the Soul'. This talk is a powerful testimony of the bringing forth of the Book of Mormon and those who brought it forth. It starts off a little slower but I promise you that it gets good.

If you guys get anything from this blog post.. please make it is watching those two talks. Whether you are looking for knowlege or spiritual upliftment, I know you will find it there. It will take 35 minutes our of your day or 20 minutes each if you watch them seperately. I know everyone can find an answer or something that uplifts them as they watch those two talks. They are a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon-Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I know the strength and clarity I have found in my life through reading the Bible and Book of Mormon and I know that it can bring clarity to the lives of others as well. I have found a love for the scriptures here more so than I ever have before and I can't wait to share them with others.

To watch the videos go to LDS.org.
- click the link on the front page that says "April 2012 General Conference"
- click the link on the left sidebar that says "All Conferences"
-- For 'My Words..Never Cease' click the year 2008 and choose April. As you scroll down it is the first talk under Sunday Afternoon Session. Choose the Watch option by clicking on the movie real icon.
-- For 'Safety for the Soul' click 2009 and choose October. As you scroll down it is the first talk under Sunday Afternoon Session. Choose the Watch option by clicking on the movie real icon.
I love all of you guys and am praying for you all back home. I am doing great here, no need to worry. I hope you take the time to watch those talks, I know there is something there for everyone.

Love,
- Elder Rainock

p.s. I got a box of cookies the other day and I have no idea who or where they are from. If you sent me a box of cookies let me know :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"No action on my mission will go to waste"

In the pictures I sent home to Lorel is one of my district (6 of us guys), one of Elder Marsh and I in our P-day clothes, and one of Elder Fuimaono and I. Elder Fuimaono is an elder from my zone and we have become pretty good friends. He is a giant teddy bear and played D-line at Arizona. I always tell him if anyone picks on him to let me know and I'll talk care of them. We usually shoot some hoops and stretch out during gym time.
 
Our devotional was nice last Tuesday. One important thing that I learned is that no action on my mission will go to waste as long as I follow the promptings of the spirit and work hard. That sounded very reassuring to me because I could definitely see myself getting down if not much is happening.
 
The lessons with our investigators have been going well. My spanish is soooo much better than it was when I first came here! We are speaking spanish about 75% of the time now and it's really helping the language come along. In fact, I'm having a hard time typing out this email without using Spanish words. Fast and testimony sunday was very nice and a lot of powerful, simple (since they were in Spanish) testimonies were shared. I love sharing my testimony with others and hearing others testimonies as well.
 
Things are getting pretty normal here. I can't wait to get out into the field! I love you all and am praying for you at home. The field is white and ready to harvest.
 
Doctrine and Covenants chapter 4.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Becoming . . . routine"

Our Tuesday night devotional was very informational, we heard from Russel M. Nelson from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He gave a talk on 9 aspects of true doctrine. He also shared an interesting study about the difference between the words "doctrines" and "doctrine" when they are used in the Bible. Every instance that the word "doctrines" is used in the Bible it has a negative connotation - every time the word "doctrine" is used it has a positive connotation. It just proves even more that the doctrine of God is simple, and doesn't need to [become complicated]. It is one doctrine, that contains various aspects. Like a diamond that has many facets formed by a master craftsman.

After the Tuesday night devotional I heard something pretty funny from one of the counselors in the branch presidency. He said "no matter what, the mission is two years long. To your mother it seems like 3, and to your father it seems like 1 and he'll be wondering what you are doing home so early - three and one equal out to two between your parents. To you it seems seems like the first 6 months are a year and a half long, and the last year and a half is 6 months long - still.. it equals two." I thought it was pretty clever, we'll see how true it is.

On Thursday we watched an hour long talk by Elder Holland of the Twelve Apostles. I love his talks! He is always straight to the point and doesn't buffer what he says. I really like that and appreciate that about him. It was a recording of a talk that he gave at the MTC about 10 years ago. He said something hilarious in his talk and you really have to see it to appreciate how funny it was. In the MTC we receive a white handbook that has all the rules that we must follow and we have to carry it with us throughout our whole missions. Some of the missionaries like to complain about the rules and express their distaste for them. He said something along the lines of, "that handbook has been over 170 years in the making - there is a reason for everything in there. It's not like a group of us old men got together one morning, drank a whole bunch of pickle juice, and started yelling 'yeah throw that in there, that'll get them!' " It was hilarious how he said it and our teacher had to pause it because we were laughing so hard. Everything seems to be more funny now.. being cooped up in here with little sleep makes some of the dumbest things hilarious. Oh well.. it's all a part of the MTC life, and it's actually a pretty good one.

Dad, this part is specifically for you. Remember all those times you tried to show me how to shine my shoes because you said, "when you go on your mission, your companions aren't going to know how to shine their shoes so you'll have to show them." And then I'd get frustrated and say "every knows how to shine their shoes, dad!".. Well.. as much as I hate to say it.. I had to show everyone in my district how to shine their shoes the other night.

My weekly routine is becoming well... routine. So there isn't much to share. I am still seeing the blessings of God pouring out on me and those around me. The language is coming along well and our lessons with our investigators are becoming exponentially better.

I just want to share a quick scripture that I feel impressed to share. In the Book of Mormon there is a scripture that says "Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed." I know the importance that family prayer has had on me, and I know that as we regularly have prayer together as a family we grow stronger to one another and to God. Not just prayer at dinner but prayer in the morning before everyone disperses for the day - or before we head to sleep for the night. The Lord promises us that we will be blessed for it, and the Lord always lives up to His promises. I hope all of you are doing well and my prayers are with you. I thank you for your prayers.

Love,
- Elder Rainock

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Don't let Satan push your buttons"

 (written April 24th)
 
Last Tuesday we had a solid devotional. Larry W. Gibbons (I'm not sure about his calling in the church) spoke on the importance of involving members in missionary work. He showed some pretty interesting statistics about how much more missionary work gets done if we involve the members. We also had our first day in the TRC (training resource center) teaching people; that was a good experience as well.
 
Wednesday was a major testimony building day for me - my companion gave a pretty good synopsis of how things go here in the MTC. "The MTC is one of the only places you can feel knock-down, drag-out stressed and discouraged all day and feel awesome by the end of it." Usually because we get a motivational talk from our teacher or we have a lesson that goes well. I was feeling sick all day on Wednesday. After dinner it got way worse and I got a pretty serious headache. Elder Marsh and I had been preparing for a lesson all day and I really felt like I was going to let us down in our lesson with the investigator Miguel. Before our lesson I couldn't remember anything we had talked about it my mind was completely fogged. We said a prayer before we went in to meet with Miguel and as soon as I stepped into the room my headache cleared and I could remember everything we had practiced in perfect clarity. We also added a bunch of things to the lesson as we were guided by the Spirit in what to say. As soon as I stepped out of the room after the lesson my headache returned and I was back to feeling pitiful, but I was happy that I was able to think clearly for those 20 minutes or so.
 
On Sunday night we had a fantastic devotional. The speaker was Stephen B. Allen, the managing director of the missionary department. He was the most engaging speaker we have had so far (in my opinion). The outline of his talk revolved around "Don't let Satan push your buttons." It was a great talk, especially for missionaries who had been questioning what they were doing here. He made it clear that there are only a couple reasons to go home early from your mission. Anything else is Satan trying to keep you from letting the work of the Lord progress.
 
Things are starting to normalize out here, I can't wait to get out in the Lord's vineyard (very fitting for Mendoza, a wine capital of the world) and get to work. The language is still coming along very promisingly. I can pretty much say anything I need to now - maybe not with perfect grammar but I can get my point across. Thank you for all of your prayers and I will continue to keep you in mine.
 
Love,
Elder Rainock

Monday, April 16, 2012

"The Lord is on my side"

Elder Marsh (my companion) and I are really starting to become great friends. After being with him 24 hours a day and 7 days a week we've gotten to know one another really well. We have an identical sense of humor and our companionship study and prayers are dynamite. We are both progressing in the language really well, but we are still far from speaking Argentine Spanish.. which is apparently blazing fast where we are going.

On Tuesday we had a devotional with Keith B. McMullin and his wife as speakers - I believe he was just released from the Presiding Bishopric of the Church. One quote that stuck out to me in his talk was, "your days as a missionary will become routine, but it's never routine for those you meet. You need to be sure to treat everyone as a special, individual child of God because that is what they are."

Wed-Thursday were pretty routine days.

Friday, our 'investigator' that we had been working with every day became our second teacher along with Hermano Salisbury. She is the granddaughter of President Erying.

Saturday was a great day. Hermano Salisbury is an awesome motivational speaker and gives great lessons. Just when the elders in our district are starting to get down, he comes out with a lesson that inspires and uplifts us. It's obvious that he is prayerful about our discussions because they are always what we need. During Hermana Eyring's lesson we practiced the full first lesson as companionships. Elder Marsh and I gave a 30 minute lesson and we were surprised to find out how much we knew how to say in Spanish. I know the Lord was with us - guiding us in what to say; I was saying things I hadn't reviewed since high school and easily saying things I had just learned. "Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men." - D&C 11:21

Yesterday (Sunday) was my most spiritual day in the MTC so far. M. Russel Ballard from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke to us. Before he spoke we heard a beautiful rendition of "The Spirit of God" by Elder Archuleta - all the sisters were in tears I'm sure, mainly because they knew they'd have to wait two years before having a chance with him. He sang in English and one verse in Spanish, it really was fantastic and he got pretty emotional at the end. After that meeting we sang an awesome version of "Called to Serve" as a whole MTC group. We started off basically whispering it and were standing on our feet singing at the top of our lungs by the end. My heart was pounding out of my chest, it was incredible. And then we watched "The Testaments" to top it all off.. at the end of the movie the 8 guys in our district all looked at each other.. we had tears running down our faces.. and then we just started cracking up because we like to think of ourselves as tough guys and we were the only people really crying. It was awesome and just another bonding moment to bring us closer together. I'm going to miss these guys.

I miss all of you, I wish I had more time to email here but it'll be longer once I'm out in the field. The Lord is on my side and so you guys don't have to worry. I pray for all of my friends and family so you should be safe as well ;) I can't wait to get out into the field and be a true instrument in the hands of the Lord!

- Alma 29:9

- Elder Rainock

Monday, April 9, 2012

"I couldn't stop smilling"

I am doing great here, I couldn't stop smiling when I first got here because I was so excited. I had been waiting my whole life for this and seeing myself with a missionary name tag on made it all real for me. My district is awesome and we get along really well - there are 8 of us. 5 of us are going to Mendoza, one is going to the Dominican Republic, one to Puerto Rico, and one to New Mexico. The two Elders going to Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic will be gone in 3 weeks to go to the MTC in the Dominican; I will be staying here with the other elders for another 8 weeks. My two year mark started yesterday because, technically, the mission is two years and five days, so that was exciting.. The Spirit of the Lord is strong here, and I have felt it very differently than I ever have before. Most of us are on the same level of Spanish (which is pretty good compared to the other Spanish districts around us, even the ones that have been here longer than us).

My first day in the MTC was not what I expected at all, I always thought everyone was saying the "empty sea." .. but whatever. They started us in right away with teaching investigators, but we taught as a group and not as companionships. One of the investigators (who was actually a set-up and not really an investigator) was a Japanese man. He ended up asking me the hardest question of the night. Without a Christian backing you have to start from scratch and some Elder mentioned he had to pray. He said he prayed, but it was to the Shinto God - He asked me if he had to pray to another God of the Christian religion and if he had been praying to the wrong God his whole life. I stumbled over an answer and a bunch of missionaries came up to me afterwards saying how well I did and that they were glad they weren't asked that question... so I got away with that one I guess. I'm glad I had the Spirit with me to prompt my answer.

Thursday, we began learning how to phrase prayers in Spanish and prepared to teach our first "investigator" in Spanish on Friday. We met our Branch President, he has worked for the Church all over the world and is completely fluent in Spanish - he is great and shared an awesome testimony with us on Sunday.

Friday we had our first meeting with our investigator, we stumbled poorly through it with the little Spanish we know. However, I know the Lord was with me because I was able to say things I didn't even know I could say.

Saturday we did a service project in one of the dorm buildings here on the MTC campus. It wasn't anything too exciting, we just cleaned the bathrooms.. It was the dorm that Elder Archuleta stays in though, so that's kind of cool I guess. Yes, I have seen him around quite a few times. We also met with our investigator again and it went very smoothly; we taught about prayer and allowing the Holy Spirit to answer our prayers. I shared my testimony and that went well also. My Spanish has improved tenfold since being here. It's amazing what you can do when the Lord is on your side. On Saturday night our instructor, brother Salisbury, gave an improptu motivational speech. Some of the guys in our group were struggling and he said "I wasn't going to do this, but I feel like I need to." He shared the story of Simon Peter, from beginning to end. It was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life, I'm getting chills just thinking about it. I would consider it a major turning point in this whole mission process. This mission is not about me, it's about our Savior and the people I need to touch by sharing His word with them. I am Elder Rainock, I no longer have a first name, I am one of many here at the MTC with the same purpose. That purpose is to bring others unto Christ, so they can have happiness in their lives.

Easter Sunday was fantastic. Elder Boyd K. Packer and his son were here. They had a great message to share. Elder Packer mentioned "fear is the opposite of faith".. so we don't need to fear as missionaries; we just need to put our trust in the Lord. I also bore my testimony during our Spanish testimony meeting, it was simple, but that's what the Gospel is. You don't have to use big fancy words and deep doctrine to feel the spirit. Christ's way is simple, and a simple testimony is enough to turn the faith of a mustard seed into a tree. After testimony meeting we went on a walk around the Provo temple. It was nice to get off campus for a bit. We took pictures which I don't have time to send because I left my cable in my room and don't have time to go get it. I will be sending them next week. The BYU Men's Chorus came on Friday night and it was nice to hear some fun, uplifting music that aren't hymns.

This morning we met with the Argentina Consul, our visas should be ready before we live here in 8 weeks so we probably won't be extended.

Basically, things are great here. The Lord has blessed me - I am getting sleep and do not feel tired like many of the other Elders in my district. We don't have any free time, but I'm really loving my mission so far. I think some Elders thought we would have time to hangout and relax and are having trouble adjusting, but we are all having a great time. Hope everyone is doing well, I'm out of time now (we only get 30 minutes in the MTC). I'll be writing letters later today.

Love,
Elder Rainock