Life here in Ohio is cold but continues to treat me well! This week flew by and just seemed to mold together but I will try to tell you a little bit.
On Wednesday I had an exchange with my district leader. I guess my mission president likes the district leader to go on an exchange once a transfer with every missionary in his district and it was my turn. It was fun to go on a little 24 vacation and get to leave my area. I love learning from other missionaries and then coming back into my area and putting the things I learned into use.
Thursday I spent several hours at the family history center trying to figure out how to use the family search website because our mission president has given us several hours a week to do family history and become familiar with the site so that we can take less actives, non-members and just members to the family history center and help them find names to take to the temple. This has been very fun for me and I never really realized how fun and confusing family history can be! We have plans this week to take several different families to the family history center and help them find some names so that hey can go to the temple for them. I wish I would have taken a few lessons from my dad on how to use this so that it would be easier out here. I invite all of you to find a name and go to the temple for it!
Friday was probably my favorite day this week. I cant remember if I told you about my neighbor Ed or not but he is my new best friend. He is the guy who likes hunting and stuff! Friday we got to go to his house and talk to him. He is HUGE into bow hunting and I love him! He placed fourth in the world a few years ago in a bow shooting competition and then got cancer and is just getting back into it. He makes all of his own arrows and everything. So while we were talking he took us into his basement and showed us all of his collections of bows and arrows and stuff. WOW he has a lot of stuff and I hope one day to be like him. We ended up spending 3 and a half hours there and he helped us both make and paint our own arrows and then on Wednesday we get to go back over and shoot the arrows we made. He is so amazing and he loved talking to us about why I’m on a mission. He is a fascinating person and is starting to read the book of Mormon this week! He cant believe that I left my bow in Utah and told me that if I came back in 2 years that we would go hunting together. I love him.
Saturday was yet again full of service. My companion and I along with the help of a friend seriously painted this lady's whole house. She is a less active and should be coming back to church soon! She asked us to do it in preparation for The Ohio State game this Saturday! We seriously painted her house scarlet gray and bright red! haha I loved it. There are some serious and crazy fans out here. Football is seriously a religion and I love it!
That is all I have for this week and will try to write down more notes this week so I can remember what I did.
James is still on date for the 6th and Chris is still progressing with the lessons and is really thinking about getting married soon so he can be baptized. Miracles are happening everyday and I love praying and living for them.
I pray for you all everyday and hope you all have a fantastic week.
Love Elder Brandon Roper
This is Brandon's reply to his Mothers request for some of his thoughts about influences he's had in his life…
I have had several things in my life that have gotten me to where I am right now.
1. Would have to be my friends. I was blessed with an amazing group of friends. Most of them happened to be in my ward and we were all very close. Most of us are on missions now or will be going very shortly. The reason this helped me was because whenever I went out with these friends I knew that we would all make good choices. I never wanted to be that guy that would have to tell the story about how he did something really stupid when he was younger that still has an effect on his life today. I knew that if I was with the right people that this would never happen.
2. My testimony and values. Growing up in the church wasn't always easy and sometimes it looked like the kids who didn’t have the same values as me were having more fun. But I can now say that the even though it may look like they are having more fun they are not! I am so grateful that I had the values I have. This has helped me so much on my mission. Even though most of you probably think every missionary is perfectly obedient they are not! I have met missionary's that like to sleep in or stay out late or not work. Although these missionaries’ might not get physically hurt they are getting spiritually hurt. I am so grateful that I have the courage to be that missionary that is perfectly obedient. The more obedient I am the happier I am.
3. I use to carry around a hammer. I always looked up to my dad and later in my life Chad Black and wanted to be as hard a worker as they are! This has helped me so much out here. There are times when going home early and going to bed would nice but luckily I was blessed with great examples that taught me to work hard and to never quit! I just think of the times when my dad would make me mow the lawn or when I would work with Chad or my Dad and we would work late into the night to get the project done. When times get hard I just have to think of these memories and am so grateful I was blessed with examples that taught me to have good work ethic.
Tell everyone that I am doing great and wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Being raised in the gospel was easily the greatest blessing in my life and I wouldn't want it any other way.
Love Elder Brandon Roper