Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 29, 2013

Hello families and friends,
Week 2 is in the books, and things are going pretty well. The weather is nice and sunny here in Long Beach, the work is going really well, and all is well. While the work is going well, it is a little difficult and I am still getting use to the regular routine and talking to everyone. But other than that things are going really well.
This past week my companion and I have been working hard at helping me meet the members in the ward along with the current investigators they have. Still am struggling understanding what they people are saying and communicating with them. Right now I am probably catching about 25-30% of what people are saying and mostly listening for words I recognize. I still don't get frustrated after lessons though, and still have a strong desire to learn the language and use it as much as I can. This week my companion and I are going to focus on finding new investigators and help our current investigators get baptized.
We are really close with this one member, Hermano Alverado, at getting baptized. Right now all he needs to do is get married and fix his work schedule so that he can attend church regularly. But he has such a strong testimony about the gospel and has a strong desire to follow Christ. One evening his fianc├ęs brother was over and we invited the brother to listen to the lessons. He said no, but Hermano Alverado asked him to. Then Hermano Alverado started sharing his experiences with listening to the missionaries and how his life has been blessed since he started listening to the missionaries. The Spirit was super strong during that lesson, and even though I couldn't understand most of what he was saying, I could feel that he was ready to be baptized. Hopefully this week he can get his work schedule fixed, he has plans to get married sometime this week. So we might be having a baptism this weekend.
One thing that my companion has been having me do is take the lead in teaching the first lesson which has been good, but also very nervous. I remember getting ready to start and really thinking about what to say. Then my mind went blank and I couldn't think of how to start, or even the words I needed to say. It was silent for a good minute and very scary. But then in a split instance almost everything seemed to flood into my mind and all the nervous feelings seemed to go away. The lesson we taught went really good and the Spirit was so strong during that moment. Even though my Spanish was still pretty broken and I couldn't understand most of what was being said, I could tell that the Spirit was in the room with us just testifying of the truthfulness of our message. It was a great experience and one I will never forget.
Well I think I am going to wrap this up. The Gospel is true and can bless everyone. I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father and we are all His children. I know that Jesus Christ lives and through Him we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again. Everything is possible through Christ. He has helped me so much in these first two weeks it is indescribable. This is the work of the Lord and He is hastening it. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve Him and help others come unto Christ. I know these things are true. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Roberts

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 22, 2013

Hello families and friends,
Well here is my first email from the Long Beach California Mission. Just for an fyi our preparation day is on Monday. But ya it is pretty awesome here. Right now I am assigned to the Bolsa Chica area with a Spanish speaking ward. Our apartment is in Huntington Beach and we have a 20 min bike ride to where our investigators are. My trainer is (mom and dad you might recognize the name) Elder Kunz. He too is from Smithfield, just a year older than me, and is awesome. It has definitely been a little crazy this first week but am starting to settle down and really start working hard. I will be in this area for 12 weeks for my training.
So ya the language is pretty hard. The hardest part right now is listening and understanding what they are saying. Plus also how to come up with sentences on the spot and making sure that I conjugate and pronounce everything correctly. But the one thing I have noticed is that I am not getting frustrated with it. I was super worried that I would be coming out of every lesson super frustrated because I couldn't understand the people, or I probably said something wrong. But so far that hasn't happened, instead I come out with a feeling of love for that family, or person we are teaching, as well as a determination to learn that language so I can speak better with them.
The people in our area are awesome. We are really close on baptizing someone in the next couple weeks which is awesome. Can you believe that, a couple weeks into the mission and I might already have a baptism. But ya the people are amazing and have a strong desire to do the right thing. So far we have about 3 investigators and a couple less actives or recent converts. All of them are doing really well I have really enjoyed getting to know them and how the gospel can bless their lives. The other cool thing is we have given 3 priesthood blessings which have been a great experience. The work in this area is really booming and I am so glad I have the opportunity to help it progress even more.
So on Sunday I had probably one of the most nervous moments in my entire life. First time in the ward so I am really working hard to get to know the members and the bishopric. But then during Sacrament meeting right after the sacrament the bishop invites another new district in our area and ME to come up and bear our testimony and introduce ourselves. Oh man I was shaking so bad you could probably see the pulpit shaking. But it was a good experience and really helped me overcome a little bit of the language barrier. But still very nerve-racking.
Well I think that kinda wraps everything up. The Gospel is true and can help everyone, no matter their circumstances. I have already seen how it has blessed my lives as well as the lives of the members in our area. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission and to help others come unto Christ by receiving His restored gospel on the Earth today. I know that He is helping me now, getting familiar with the area and the people in our area. I know that He can help everyone, if we turn to Him for His help and have faith that we will receive that help.
Talk to you all next week,
Elder Roberts
PS. Here are a couple pictures from my last day in the MTC
Since the temple was close the last two weeks of my stay in the MTC we had a lot of time during P-day. So we had a killer Shoe polishing session.

Our last temple walk in the MTC. And last picture with the elders in our district.
Our district with one of our teachers, Hermano Klabacka. He came in about halfway into our time in the MTC

After taking our group pictures with Hermano Klabacka, he caught this picture of him. It was pretty cool and thought I would share it with you.


Here is me and Hermano Klabacka in my last day in the MTC. Just a side note, my hair is super short because the barber who cut it had an "oops" moment and cut too much on the side. So she just went shorter. I thought it was pretty funny.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 11, 2013

Hola familia,
Well my time in the MTC is nearly complete. Sorry I didn't send a letter off on Monday. Our district had the opportunity to host the Senior Couple Missionaries on Monday so we didn't have the usual hour between service and gym time. But yeah 6 weeks have gone by in a flash. I did get my travel itinerary last Friday; we leave SLC at 8:39 am on Tuesday, and I am pretty sure we will leave the MTC around 5:00 am. So I think a call around 7ish-7:30ish will occur. Dad did mention about you  guys sending down a phone card, i don't care. They do have them in the Bookstore and that was what I was planning on doing. My last day I can buy one is Saturday. However I am getting low on cash, dry cleaning suck up most of it cause they didn't take  debit cards. I am down to about 5 buck so if you could get some from my saving account that would be awesome. Also can you transfer over money to my checking account so it is at a even 200? I don't want to take any chances with it getting too low. Thanks so much for your help with that, that is the one bad thing about the MTC, you really can't utilize the internet past LDS.org and Mormon.org.
So yeah, last few days in the MTC. I can't lie, for a moment there I was getting a little tired of the MTC and just ready to get to Long Beach. But after yesterday I am really going to miss it here. One of our teachers, Hermano Welch, is leaving for the rest of the week cause his uncle died. So yesterday was our last class period with him. It was a great last class time with him though and I really enjoyed having him as my teacher. We did get some pictures and I will see if I can get them sent off today, I left my camera in the residency so I had to have some one else take it and send it to me. It was a little sad after we took some pictures cause he was leaving and walking down the hallway and they he raised his hand into a fist as he walked down the hall. It was a little sad seeing that, but at the same time really cool. I will have to send a picture. The teachers and zone resource teachers here are so nice and have such strong testimonies about the work and have such great faith in us learning the language and the lessons. I know that my testimony and knowledge of the gospel has grown because of them and has really increased my desire to share it with the people of Long Beach.
So to answer Mom's question about running. I have been able to do a little bit of running and the shoes are working great. I gave up on trying to go for the mile record because I felt like it was a distraction to my purpose here at the MTC, plus everyone didn't want to go to the gym so I could run on the track every day. There is an elder in our zone who actually ran for BYU. He was a lot like Jason  and likes the shorter distances, mostly the 800 but he wants to do more of the mile. So I have had the opportunity to run with him a little bit and hear about his running stories. He has a faster 800 time, we have about the same 1500 and mile time, and I have the faster distance times so he is very similar to Jason. I will admit I was missing my running shorts yesterday during our run. I was so hot with all the layers of clothing I had on it was a difficult run. But I think I need to heed the words of Coach Reeder and not focus so much on running and more on the work, and I think it will be a little bit better in the mission field.
The Spanish is coming along very nicely. I am able to speak it for a good majority of the day, the little bit that I know. There is still a lot to learn and my vocabulary is still pretty low. But I have definitely seen the hand of the Lord helping me understand the grammar principles and retain vocabulary. I remember during a lesson I had not gone over the vocabulary for the lesson and was super nervous for the lesson. But then suddenly I was spurting out sentence after sentence of Spanish about our lesson and about 78% of it was correct. So that definitely was a strong testimony building experience that the Lord does help us remember the things to say. So right now the biggest barrier I need to overcome is vocabulary and listening. For TRC on Monday we taught a member who was from Chile and spoke Spanish very fast. I probably caught and understood about 25% of what she said so it was pretty hard knowing what her experiences are and how our message can help her. So hopefully with time, practice, and the help of the Lord, that barrier will be destroyed. It is actually pretty amazing to see how much we have learned over the past 6 weeks. I remember taking Spanish in high school and not getting to preterit till my junior year and we covered preterit like 3 weeks into my time at the MTC. Drew and Briton weren't joking when they said that you will learn so much in so little time.
Well I think that sums up everything. Tomorrow we will be doing in field orientation which is just safety classes and applying what we have learned. I am actually super excited to attend it. Then Saturday will be a normal Saturday and Sunday will be the same except we will have a departure devotional along with the main devotional. Then on Monday my companion and two elders from our district will leave for their mission, leaving us who are going to Long Beach. It is pretty crazy how fast the past 6 weeks have gone bye, and how much I have learned in that timeframe. Now it is time to apply what I have learned and get to work. This work is amazing and will truly bless the lives of everyone. I am a little nervous of getting to Long Beach and teaching, but am also super excited and am anxious to just get out and work. It is going to be a great experience and I know that with the Lord, all things will be possible if we turn to Him for His guidance and help.
Love you all. Next email I will include a picture of nice sunny Long Beach :) The Gospel is true!! I know it, I live it, I love it.
Elder Roberts

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4, 2013

Hello Family and friends,
Two weeks left to go!! It has been a great week here at the MTC. Days filled with mucho estudiando, comiendo, ensenando y aprendiendo. Things have been really great and very spiritual. Into the details:
With the departure of our other teacher, Hermano Campbell, also ment we lost an investigator. But we did get a new one on Tuesday; his name is Hal who is a baptist and his best friend is a mormon. We have only taught him once where we got to know him and why he is interested in the LDS Chuch. We also introduced him to the Book of Mormon and taught him how to pray. It went all right, it just went a long time and I could tell that Hal was getting bored but everytime I tried to end it my companion kept going on. It was a little frustrating but we were able to figure out how to keep our lessons shorter. Then yesterday we taught our other progressing investigator Geraldo. He is coming along very well; he had a drinking problem and expressed his desire to quit for his family. So we taught him the Word of Wisdom last week and this week when we met with him he hadn't drank in a week, plus he was able to find a job at a restaurant. I was so happy for him and could tell that the Lord was blessing his life for the changes he was making. I was so happy for Geraldo I almost forgot to start the lesson. In that same lesson we taught him about the Plan of Salvation which went really well. My companion was struggling a little bit with his spanish so I kinda picked up the slack and gave a majority of the lesson. But I could definitely tell that the Spirit was helping me receive instruction on what to say, what questions to ask, and helped me understand Geraldo. I could tell the Spirit was touching Geraldo's heart as well, especially when we talked about the Atonement. It was a great lesson and I was so grateful for the companionship of the Holy Ghost in that lesson.
So yesterday we received more missionaries (About 800 new missionaries) and our district had the opportunity to host. It actually was really fun introducing the missionaries to the MTC and getting them settled into the environment. I hosted 4 new missionaries, 1 english, 2 spanish, and 1 portugese. The one thing that really touched me was right at the beginning saying goodbye to their families. It really hit home that serving a mission is a sacrifice for both the missionary and the family. But the blessings are even better and are so great. I know that serving a mission is hard, I remember my first few days and thinking how hard it is going to be. But I know that the Lord is with us constantly. He is comforting us, supporting us, and strengthening us daily when we turn to Him for help. I liked the quote by Elder Andersen in the Worldwide Broadcast "If we are doing the work of the Lord as best we can, the Lord will not fail us or let us fail." Therefore we need to be constantly making sure we are living up to the covenants we have made with Him, and helping His work progress. (Attached is a picture of me after hosting)
So alot of you guys have been asking if the changes to the mission usage of technology has effected our work here at the MTC. To be honest: No. My branch president works in the Church offices in the technology department and has been spearheading this work for a while. He said that right now they are slowly going to be issuing the usage of Ipads, tablets, and smartphones into missionary work and it probably wont be at full force till next year. But they will be very helpful in teaching. For example we will be able to access Mormon.org and all the Mormon Messages from the the devices which I think will be great tools in teaching and bearing testimony. Also it will help with finding and contacting investigators and those interested in the Gospel. So they are slowly working in the use of these devices and we won't be using them much here in the MTC and I don't know how much I will be using it in the mission field as well. My branch president said that there will be one area that will mostly use technology to find and teach investigators. But the rest of the areas will mostly be regular street contacting and tracting.
Anyway just some small details. Spanish is coming along really well and I am able to recall things alot better. We are starting to get into some pretty difficult grammer in present subjunctives. The concept is all right it is just knowing when to use it and use it. So here is to understanding it within the next two weeks. My companion and I were called last sunday to be the Sacrament Coordinators. Basically just means we are in charge of preparing and cleaning up the sacrament every sunday. The scary thing is we are the oldest district in our branch for the next two weeks, so guess it times to start acting our age ;) It is just a wierd feeling to be the oldest district doesn't feel like I have been here for that long. I will admit though I am starting to get anxious to get out into the mission field and start working. Sitting in a classroom for over 8 hours is starting to get boring. But I am going to have to push through it cause this is when alot of the important lessons will be taught. The lessons have been great with our teachers this past week. Just need to really focus and learn as much as I can.
Well that sums up everthing for this week. Tonight we get to watch the fireworks from Stadium of Fire which is a plus. But the temple is closed for cleaning so I won't be able to attend the temple the rest of my time here at the MTC which is a bummer. But things are great just need to buckle down and learn as much as I can in these next few weeks. The Church is true. It is true because it is Christ's Church and it is built on His Gospel found in 3 Nephi. We learned what Gospel means, it means good news or good tidings. And this Gospel is a good news to everyone and will bless everyone. I know it is true.
Elder Roberts
PS Thanks for the news about me making All Conference Academic Freshman team. I was so excited when I hear that I almost scared my district because of my excitement
Also.... Here is a picture of our district with Hermano Campbell right before he left. I think he was my favorite teacher and was super sad when we said he was going to the MTC in Mexico. But I am glad that he will continue to help other missionaries prepare for their missions.

And here's a picture of Tyler and his companions.... you can tell they're working soooo hard =)


Monday, July 1, 2013

June 26, 2013

So Elder Roberts sent home some pictures from his first few weeks at the MTC!! Enjoy =)

The Elders in our Zone the First week there. Majority of them are in their respective mission fields

First temple walk on our first sunday. The flowers were beautiful and really added to the beauty of the temple

First p-day. Elder Brock is on the left and Elder Miller is on the right. These two elders are in the same room as me

Name tag and Preach my Gospel and Book of Mormon all in Spanish

Me and my companion Elder Ashcroft at the Provo Temple on our first Sunday

Those in our district going to Long Beach

Our District with me and 5 others going to Long Beach, my companion going to Raleigh, NC, and 2 going to Peru

First P-day. That is the room I am in Elder Ashcroft in the one in the farthest seat, Elder Worthlin in the closest seat and Elder Kotter is on the Floor. Only Elder Ashcroft is in our room.

June 26, 2013

Buenos Dias Familia,
3 weeks down, and 3 weeks left till I am done in the MTC and moving out into the mission field. Things have been going good, and I have really enjoyed my time here. I am not sure where to begin filling you in with all the details but here goes.
So how about that worldwide broadcast on Sunday huh? That was a great experience and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to be apart of it, especially in the choir (You can see me once in "Hark all ye Nations closer to the end on a pan out view). I really liked how they challenged the members to help hasten the work and I know that members can play an important role in conversion. I also like how they are going to open church houses for tours. We learned the other day how investigators can receive revelation from attending church and the Spirit they can feel from attending church. I really believe it is going to help people know how we worship and what we do on Sundays. I am so excited to be able to do that in Long Beach. But overall it was great to see the brethren of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles and it definitely strengthened my testimony that they are called of God and how sacred their calling is. I don't think I have ever been as close to them as this moment. But it was great and I hope everyone found something they can do to help the work progress.
Some bitter sweet news: One of our teachers is going to the MTC in Mexico. So Wednesday was our last class time with him. I am happy for him and the opportunity he has to teach at the MTC in Mexico. But at the same time I am really sad. He was by far my favorite teacher because of how he could bring the Spirit into our class. He also did a really good job getting us out of our comfort zone and trying things that we will be doing in the mission field like street contacting with other missionaries. He also was the one who hit home the point that in order to learn Spanish we need to be talking it a lot more than we need to. I am so grateful that I was able to have him as our teacher for the couple weeks he taught us, the last lesson with him was so good and the Spirit was so strong in the class it was indescribable.
On Tuesday we had our second devotional and it was amazing. It was Janice Kapp Perry, she wrote some songs in the Children Songbook as well as "As Sisters in Zion". However it wasn't a we sit down and listen to her speak, she had participation. Her topic was the importance of music in our lives and tied it in with experiences from her life. We sang, as a group, a medley of Children Songs that she had arranged and the EFY Medley from a couple years ago with "As Sisters of Zion" and "Army of Heleman". That last song was amazing!! The Spirit was so powerful as over 3000 missionaries stood and sang as an army. I am so grateful for the role music plays (haha no pun intended :)) in my life. They don't allow us to play music here at the MTC so it has been very hard not hearing music. But this devotional really hit home how important music is in my life and how it is a great way to invite the Spirit into any situation. Thanks mom for making me go through all those years of learning music through Cache Children's Choir, piano and the cello.
Well that pretty much sums everything up I think. The Spanish is coming along slowly but is coming. We have learned almost every bit of Spanish grammar and just have a couple more things to cover. So pretty much it is increase vocabulary and use it as much as I can from here on out. Another side note, with the mission president seminar this weeks they have moved all our meals to the gym. So I don't think I have gained that much weight because of the seminar and less food to choose from. Thanks for sending down my shoes also. On Monday I wore them for a run and it felt some much better having some cushion and support. I just forgot how much I have breaking in new shoes because on Tuesday I had a pretty bad case of shin splints all day. But with a little bit of stretching, and drugs, they got better the following day (Thanks Michelle).
Hope all is going well,
Elder Roberts

June 24, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Coming up on my halfway mark here at the MTC! Definitely is going by fast, and definitely getting more excited to get to Long Beach and begin serving. The Spanish is definitely getting better and I have started using it a lot more now compared to three weeks ago.

So I don't know about you guys, but I felt spiritually uplifted from the Broadcast on Sunday. I also felt more compelled to do all I can to invite others to come unto Christ. It was extremely cool being in the same building as the Apostles, especially so close to them. It definitely strengthened my testimony that those men are called of God to be personal witnesses of His gospel. Even though the message was directed more towards the members, it just got me more anxious to get out and start working with the members to bring everyone into the Fold. I really hope everyone will heed the words of the prophet and Apostles. This is a great work; and the joy that comes from it is indescribable and is something that everyone can experience.

So I met my mission President of Saturday and his wife. He is a really awesome man and is truly devoted to the work of the Lord. One interesting fact he said was that 60% of our mission is English speaking, 39% Spanish, and 1% Cambodian. I was surprised that it is mostly English but really hope that I can learn the Spanish language and teach more in Spanish. Our mission president has spent a majority of his adulthood with a church calling, most recently as a stake president. So he is truly one with the Lord and His work, and I can't wait to get out and work with him in sharing the gospel with everyone. He has a great vision for what is going to happen and I am grateful to have the opportunity to labor with him in the Lord's vineyard.

Hope all is well!

Elder Roberts.