Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 20, 2013

Buenos Dias familias,
Can you believe that two weeks ago I was dropped off a the MTC?? Time is flying by so fast it is kinda hard to believe. I remember when I got here everyone was saying "Get to Sunday and things will get better." Well they were right, after that first Sunday is when things started to speed up. I will try to get every little juicy tidbit of information in as I can. Also the reason why you will get this email so early is because our laundry and emailing time is7:00 am.
This week has been a very great week. Still have had those down days where I couldn't understand or speak spanish at  all. But for a majority it has been a pretty positive week. On week we started teaching "Geraldo" a new investigator wich actually went really well. With this lesson I didn't take in any notes, or my spanish book with translated phrases to say and to be honest I actually felt more prepared for this lesson than any of the other lessons with "Carlos". I really felt like I have learned a lot within the past two weeks, but have started putting more trust in the Lord to help me recall the words I need to say. It was a great lesson, we got to know Geraldo and his needs as well as establishing our expectations as missionaries. We also taught him about our Heavenly Father, Families and Prayer. It went super good, we even got him to pray which was awesome. We are planning on teaching him about the restoration on Saturday which I can't wait for. I know it probably seems silly that I am super excited over a role played investigator, but I was just super glad things went well. I really felt like my companion and I are making great stides in learning.
So on Sunday is when they are doing the broadcast for the new mission presidents. Like I stated in my last email they are doing a missionary choir and I was worried that I wasn't going to be in it. Well I found out on Tuesday that I will be able to participate in the choir for the broadcast. I am super excited, both to sing in the choir, but also to be in the same building as the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I am super excited to hear their plans for the missionaries and members to assist in missionary work.
I am going to address a few individual responses I have received from you guys:
1. Bridget- that is awesome you are doing Crossfit. I know it helped me alot. I understand you coming home and being tired, but stick with it. Soon it will go away and you will come home and want to do more :) Also I have only gained 4 lbs. since arriving at the MTC.
2. Dad- Nice job on your running, that is awesome that you have dropped that much time is two weeks. Just keep running, maybe work up to running two days a week. And soon you will be knocking on that 21 minute 5K.
3. Mom- Thanks for sending down my shoes. I really think they will help. Also thanks for the sesame sticks they are going to help with my splurging. Also I might need you to send down my Asics. I went for a run on Thursday and my feet felt like they were on fire and I was really concerned why. Then I remembered that I have had these shoes for over 6 months which usually is another time to switch them out. Plus I remembered that even though I wasn't running in them, I did alot of walking around in them so they have alot more miles on them than I thought. So I figure I will use the asics to run in, and these nike ones for P-day and service.
Well other than that things are going great. The district I am in is awesome and we are getting along really well. The food is really good I don't know why Justin didn't like it. However it doesn't come close to a home cooked meal from mi madre :)
The Gospel is true, and there is no doubt in my mind that it isn't. I know that missionary work is important and can bless the lives everyone. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the true gospel on the Earth today. I know that throught the Prophet Joseph Smith it was restored in these latter-days. I know the Lord answers prayers, He has done so multiple times with me within these first two weeks. Ever since I got here at the MTC the scripture Ether 12:27 has been on my mind and has really been a great motivator. Then during on of my personal study times I went to the cross reference in the bottom to Jacob 4:7 and wow did that scripture hit home. I loved the part at the end where it say "that we have power to do these things". That was a powerful verse and assured me that I can learn Spanish, but more importantly, I can overcome anything when I turn to the Lord for His help.
Hope all is going well. Talk to you again in 1 week.
Elder Roberts

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18, 2013

Dear Family,

Can you believe that in less than a month I will be out in Long Beach?? These first two weeks have gone by so fast, it's hard to believe. Things have definitely been better, and I have started getting into a good routine now. It is really helpful when  you have a schedule filled with some activity every hour of the day. The Spanish is coming along, slowly, but coming along. My biggest problem is my that my vocab is very small, and I struggle to recall words. The conjugation is coming back slowly as well. I don't know if Dad has any suggestions to help with learning vocab? Or if anyone else does, I wouldn't mind any suggestions. ( Bridget's Note: You can put suggestions in the comments or mail personal suggestions if you have any =] )

I really like my teachers; they do a really good job teaching us what we need to learn, but also teach with the Spirit. I have learned so much about teaching with the spirit and following the promptings of the Spirit.

This week we will continue teaching "Carlos" and also begin teaching "Geraldo". I am really excited to begin teaching him and to apply what I have learned this past week. I am also excited to see if I can apply more of my Spanish this week in our lessons. I am going to try not to use my notes and just speak. It's going to be hard but I really feel like it's the best way to learn, and also for the Spirit to help us teach in our lessons.

For yesterday's devotional, after the speaker, we watched "The Testament of One Fold and One Shepherd". I will admit I did tear up at the end of the movie. The Spirit was so strong and bore a strong testimony that Jesus is the Christ and that He Lives! I know that He lives. I am so grateful that I get to represent Him.

Love you all,
Elder Roberts

Thursday, June 13, 2013

June 13, 2013

Hola Familia
Is it crazy to think that it has been one week since you guys dropped me off at the MTC? The first 3 days seemed to take forever and this would be a long stay. However after Sunday things have gone by in a flash. I don't know where to start filling you in with details but I will try my best to fill you in with every little juicy detail.
So with our district we have 9 elders with me and 5 others going to Long Beach, my companion is going to the Raleigh North Carolina mission and two other elders are going to Peru. It has been a blast getting to know them, and learn with them both the language and the gospel. A lot of our schedule is studying, classroom instruction, and teaching our "Investigator". Like I said in my letter we have been teaching "Carlos" and I won't lie it has been the hardest thing I think I have ever done. First off I always struggled understanding what he said, even though I did have my good days and could understand maybe 15% of what he said. Because we struggled understanding him we just pressed forward teaching him, and didn't really ask what his needs were or why he was interested in taking lessons from the investigator. I think because of that it was hard for the spirit to come into our lessons and help teach Carlos. I have learned a very valuable lesson through all of this. I have come to know our purpose as a missionary: It isn't necessarily to teach the gospel, but more to know the investigator, their needs and questions about the Mormon church, and how they can become closer to Christ. We are to "Invite others" and "help them receive the restored gospel" and that might not necessarily mean teaching, but more helping them feel the Spirit so it can teach and convert them. I also think this is why I have been struggling with my Spanish. Before I would use lines from our book to teach him, using vocabulary and grammar rules that I have never used or learned, and a majority of the time I would just read the lines from my notebook. This, I felt, didn't bring the spirit into our lesson. So I have made it a goal with our next investigator to get to know them, and their questions, and to just use the Spanish I know. And more importantly testify of the truths of this gospel, and not teach.
So other than teaching our investigator things have been great. The teacher for our class is amazing, and teaches us so well I learn something new every day. For example they encourage us to use the language plan in Preach My Gospel, and I would struggle how to use it and more importantly to follow it. However, I expressed this struggle with my teacher and he taught me that I am trying to learn too much at once, and that I need to step back and take things in smaller steps. He also said that they don't expect us to be perfect in Spanish these first few weeks, and it is OK to use the Spanish we know. It is kinda like my math situation for school this year, I didn't take Calculus my first semester because I needed to get the basics down in 1050/1060. The same thing here, he encouraged me to go back and make sure I understand the basics, conjugating in the present tense, and basic vocabulary. It actually brought a lot of peace to my mind when he said this stuff, and testified to me that I can do this. But we only learn things line upon line, precept along precept. So I hope that the Lord will continue to help me prepare and learn the things I need to be a useful servant in His Hands.
The Devotionals are amazing here. The devotional at the Marriot center was great, our district was part of the choir which was amazing. There are over 1500 members in the choir, and we will be the ones singing at the Devotional on June 23 for the new mission presidencies. However they have to cut the numbers down to about 1200 and granted there are missionaries in the choir who will be leaving before then, I hope that I will be part of the choir at that time. The speaker for the Tuesday devotional was Mervyn B. Arnold of the 70 which was a great talk. However I my favorite talk so far was a rerun of Elder Bednar's talk on "The Character of Christ" which he have gave on Christmas day in the MTC. I don't know if you guys can look up talks in the MTC but if you can I would highly recommend reading it. It has changed my outlook as a missionary so much.
Well I think that about wraps thing up. I am going to get in the routine of sending emails on Thursday and then send a letter on Mondays so you guys don't have to wait a week for updates. The Gospel is true, I know it with all my heart that it is. I know we have a loving Heavenly Father who watches out for us and blesses us. I know he answers prayers, ever since I enter the MTC I have always been struggling to know how to start of with an investigator, and how I can effectively study the language. I feel like He has answered those prayers with the devotionals we have attended so far, and from our teacher. I know that He will bless us when we obey His commandments to exactness, and when we do mess up we can be forgiven of our sins through the atonement of Christ. I pray that the Lord will continue to help me prepare, and also bless you guys.
En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen
Elder Roberts

June 6, 2013

Hey everybody,
Well it is day two of my MTC experience and things are starting to settle down and are going good. I will admit I was a deer in the headlights the first few hours here and a little overwhelming. We basically got checked in and got my name tag and room key, then went to my room to drop off my suit cases. Then we went to our district class room where the teacher was already talking in Spanish and I basically smiled and said nothing. It was pretty scary, and overwhelming but we then went to a devotional where the MTC President and his counselors gave us the run down about everything. That definitely slowed things down and I was able to think a little bit and get some information about what to do. The lessons and devotionals have been amazing, definitely a great spirit here and I can´t wait to continue learning the gospel and my language.
My companion is Elder Ashcroft who is assigned to serve in the Raleigh North Carolina Mission. He is from Logan, and graduated from Logan High in 2012. He has been a really nice kid, and it has been fun getting to know him and the other elders in my district. There are 10 of us in our district with 7 going to Long Beach, 2 to Peru, and 1 to North Carolina. Thankfully all of us have very little to no knowledge of Spanish so it will be nice learning with these guys. So far our Zone leaders are awesome, and we will meet our Branch President tonight after our orientation.
I really do miss you guys. It was kinda hard once I got those feelings of missing you guys not to grab my cell phone and text you guys. Plus it didn´t help that I left my stationary paper and envelopes home. I would love it if you guys could ship that down to me. Our prep day is Thursdays, so that is when we will have time to email you guys. But like you said letters will be faster and more consistent. It definitely is different living here then when I was living on campus, but I think if I can get a routine going, and get my letter supplies, things will be a lot better.
I love you guys and look forward to hearing from you guys soon. Remember the Lord not only looks after His missionaries, but ALL of His children. May the Lord watch over you, bless you, and comfort you.
Elder Roberts