Elder Jarom Travis Odom

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Philippines Cauayan Mission

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


This picture was taken while we were waiting to drop Jarom off at the MTC.  From left to right: Elizabeth Ashworth, Elder Odom, Tanner Arsenault, Ashley Livingston
I remember standing on the curb of the MTC clinging to Jarom, sobbing, and thinking that two years was an eternity!  It was one of the most difficult moments of my life, but I would not trade it for anything.  October tenth was the one year mark.  Unbelievable!  After spending eight weeks and five days - SIXTY-ONE days - in the MTC he flew for hours and hours to the Philippines.  After that he rode on a bus for hours to the mission home - ready to serve!  His first year was...eventful!  He suffered from Typhoid Fever twice - the second time he was seriously ill and spent several days in the hospital.  He had an experience with his heart that nearly got him sent home.  With faith, prayers, and fasting a miracle happened and he is perfectly fine.  On top of that - he was in the middle of a typhoon!
It hasn't all been trials though.  He has had many amazing experiences and many blessings.  He has eaten Balut - which is basically a fertilized and formed duckling - yuk!  He has served in three areas and has had four companions.  He has been a trainer, a district leader, and with a transfer last week - a zone leader!
It is amazing to read his emails week and after week, and to hear and feel such tremendous growth in him, in his testimony, in his faith, and in his capacity to serve The Lord and those around him.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013




Yahoo for Sister Rahlf's blog!

 My sweet missionary
 Solono Zone


Q & A

I get the most information from Jarom when I send him an email of questions.  This is the last Q & A we had!
Mom: Tell me about your companion...
Jarom: Elder Thayn is from a 3000 acre farm in Utah...he is the eldest of four...was a huge video game nerd...his sport is chess...and his favorite food is pizza and corn flakes.
Mom: Tell me about your apartment...
Jarom: We have a nice apartment compared to a lot.  There are frogs, bugs, lizards, rats, mice, and a giant spider in it along with mosquitos that carry Dengue.
Mom: Tell me about your town...
Jarom: Lagawe is a little town - surrounded by mountains and rice terraces.
Mom: Tell me about your branch...
Jarom: We have an average of 40 to 60 that come to church every Sunday, and they all stay for all three hours.  They are great!  I love the members here!
Mom: Have you seen the drunk guy again?  (I'll have to post that story later!)
Jarom: We haven't seen that drunk guy yet, but we have seen many more and we get excited every time we encounter one because they are so nice - and sooooo funny!
Mom: Can you believe you have almost hit the one year mark?
Jarom: Yes and no. I try not to think about that very much or I get depressed because I don't want to  come home.
Mom: Are you keeping your journal?
Jarom: I am keeping a journal.  Large and small plates.
Mom: What happened with your heart was such a miracle.  How did that affect the people in your area?
Jarom: They were fasting for me and really concerned, and when I would share a message about prayer and fasting I would share that story - it was something that really got them listening.

Obedience Brings Blessings...Exact Obedience Brings Miracles!


email from Jarom dated 8/13/13:
"What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger!"
Dear everyone,
After recovering from Typhoid Fever, I started having problems with my heart.  I was getting short of breath and couldn't hardly work.  I then had to go see two cardiologists in Cauayan - that is a six hour ride on jeeps, vans, and buses.  The first test that was done already told me that my heart is messing up.  Every few beats my heart would pause and it would try fixing itself and by the time it did it would mess up again.  I went to another specialist and did a thyroid test and it was good, and then had an echo cardiogram done.  It showed back-flow of blood coming back into my heart and some messed up places in some arteries.  The doctor said that my heart's battery is messing up and I need to go to St. Luke's Hospital in Manila and get at least a pacemaker, and maybe get other things done that I would have to get done in the U.S.  I was really out of it and upset because I really didn't want to leave my mission or anything.  I just wanted to stay here.

The members put my name on the temple prayer roll, and they were praying and fasting for me.  This was all on a Monday.  Later that night I got a random text from a Sister in our branch who had no idea that I was going through these things.  She sent a scripture to me: Mormon 9:21...

"Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth."

I read it and started praying and fasting, applying what it says.  When they were doing the echo cardiogram, they saw messed up things and abnormalities.  The doctor told me that they would print out the results of the echo and send it to Manila in a few days - after they had read over it again - and get back to me.  A few days later the doctor sent us a text and was astounded.  When they read over the results again - they said the structure of my heart is somehow perfect now and that every problem I was having is just gone.  Every little problem with my heart was just fixed.

If you ever have a problem, read the promise in Mormon 9:21 and apply what is taught.

Elder Odom

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Elder Odom at Banaue - notice the rice terraces on the side of the mountains - beautiful!

Pretty handsome missionary!  (I admit - I MAY be biased!)

 Jarom and his reptiles!

First Balut, and now this!  When he comes home he can get a job on that TV show, Bazaar Foods!

My favorite!

Typhoid: 2 - Jarom: 0

Dear Mom,
I am going to email you what happened this week.  We went to Banaue Monday and it was super fun and then Tuesday I woke up feeling super sick and then tried to wait it out.  I had 104.2 fever for three days straight, and I had a fever from Tuesday until Saturday morning.  This type of Typhoid was much worse than the first time and the doctor told me it was very good that I went to the hospital because this time it was very dangerous.  My white blood cell levels and platelet levels were dangerously low.  I had the worse headache in my life for a week, and every joint in my body hurt from every joint in my fingers to every joint in my toes.  My stomach felt like The Incredible Hulk jumped in it and started to do some work.  I didn't eat for a week and had one - one liter bottle of water in four days.  I also went five days without sleeping.  Last Monday I was 205 pounds.  Today is Monday and I am now 175 pounds.  Thirty pounds in one week!  Imagine the worse flu, stomach virus, body pains and aches, and every other awful feeling. Then triple that. After that, double that.  Then you're not even halfway there.  That's what I felt like for this past week, but I am still alive and it's a cool story to tell!  I am doing great though.  I haven't shaved in five days, so I have been chilling with the mission president and his wife with a beard and they don't care!  It hurts to walk and move, so it's fine.  I survived it and I'm recovering more and more each day.  I love y'all and a little advice: don't eat or drink bad water - you could die!
Love, Elder Odom
We had the opportunity to talk to Jarom Sunday morning.  I think it had something to do with me crying as I was talking to President Rahlf Saturday evening!  Jarom sounded good and had a positive attitude.  He said his companion had given him a blessing and it didn't say anything about dying!  He also gave us few more details about his experience.  When it was determined that he needed to be in the hospital, his President wanted him near the mission home, so he had to travel five hours by jeepney with multiple changes along the way.  I cannot imagine how horrible it must have been to have to make such a difficult journey feeling like you just want to lay down and die.  Once he arrived, he was so dehydrated that they could not get an IV in him at first.  When they finally got an IV started, it infiltrated and his hand swelled up.  The third time is a charm, however, and he was able to get the fluids he so desperately needed.  I was worried to find out how low his platelets and white cells were.  The platelets help to clot the blood and a low white count means his body cannot fight off infections as efficiently.
I received an email from Sister Rahlf today, and she assured me Jarom is doing much better.  She writes, "He's had a fairly quiet routine and is gaining strength back quickly.  He's eating well and sleeping well...every day we are seeing improvement in his strength and stamina."
I am very thankful to know that Elder Odom is in Heavenly Father's hands and that He is taking care of him.  I'm thankful for President and Sister Rahlf and for the love and good care they are giving to him.  I am also thankful for the healing power of The Priesthood.