Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013

Hey guys,
Man this week has passed by so fast, it feels like two days ago I was emailing you guys. I guess that is what happens when you have zone conference. Oh man, I can't even begin to describe how good zone conference was last week. The topic was "How can I teach with more Power?" and the trainings were super, super good. I really enjoyed listening to the training of President Tew, he is a spiritual giant!! When ever he teaches or gives a training, you know you are going to get slammed with the Spirit. But I learned so much and am so grateful to have such a great mission president. Now comes the hardest part.....Applying it.
So to answer some of mom's questions. We live with members in their home, they have a guest bed room that we use to sleep and study in. There is also a bathroom connected to the room. Then we have very little storage space to store our food which is a little bit annoying, and just use their dishes and other stuff to make our food. We are still eating with members, so we just have to worry about breakfast and lunch. The good thing about living with members is we can also use their washer and dryer for free, so no more paying for laundry for the next couple weeks. Our church building is a ways away, but since Elder Curtis has a small tear in his meniscus we have a car so it makes traveling pretty easy. Shopping is the same, there is a Wal-Mart in our area, and a really good Hispanic store that sells fruit and veggies pretty cheap. About the scripture cases, I talked with the Elder who does it and he is actually leaving next transfer, so he isn't going to do another order. He is, however, going to get me the contact information for the guy who does everything and I can order them myself. I am still waiting for the info, but when I have it, I will let you know and we can try to coordinate everything.
So this past week was really good. We found some one new to teach which was awesome. We were walking back to our car to head home for lunch and we saw her on the other side of the street trying to cross with 6 bags of groceries. We ran over to help her and as we did she recognized us as missionaries. She then told us she was interested in learning about the church and we set up an appointment later that week. When we taught her she was super excited about the Gospel and was really surprised how she could relate her life to characters in the Bible. She really liked, as well, how the Gospel can relate to us, and the blessings that come from the Gospel. We committed her to Baptism and she accepted it!! She also came to church yesterday and enjoyed every moment. She was participating in the classes and taking notes it was super cool. The only thing is she speaks English better than Spanish, so she wants to try the English ward this Sunday and then see what she feels more comfortable with. So we might be passing her off, but she is super cool and super prepared it is awesome.
Overall this was a good week. We also had a companionship in our district baptize someone yesterday so that was cool to see them there. I am starting to get more and more comfortable with the area and can find my way around a lot better. I am also getting to know our investigators better as well. We are still working hard to find new people to teach and increase our teaching pool. Of the investigators we have, they are good we just have a hard time setting up appointments and help them see the blessings that come from the Gospel. We have some good plans this week to find more people though, and to visit our investigators more so this will be a good week.
So I want to share a little bit what I studied this morning from Preach My Gospel. I was reading about extending invitations towards commitments, especially about bearing your testimony with while you teach. It was cool to read about how bearing your testimony can help other people feel the Spirit and have a desire to learn more about the Gospel. Especially when you bear a sincere testimony from the heart. It has been cool to experience that here on the mission and see how people can feel the Spirit from sincere testimony. It is something I have been trying to apply in every lesson and as I do, I notice that my testimony is strengthened as well. So I invite you guys to do the same thing. You say you want to share the Gospel more, start off with you testimony. Doesn't have to be super long, just short powerful statements about what you believe and how it has blessed your life. I can promise you as you share your testimony more often, it church, with friends, with family, or anywhere, you will have the Spirit with you and the words you speak will touch the hearts of those you share it with.
Well time is short, and time to get back to work. Thank you for everything and hope all is well. Hope you are ready for the snow. ;)
Elder Roberts

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 22, 2013

Hey guys,
First off sorry that you guys didn't receive an e-mail yesterday. We were suppose to go to the temple next Tuesday, so I was going to have another week to update you guys. However the Assistants took over everything and changed our temple date to today last week. So I didn't have time to update you guys. But here we are with another quick update for the week.
The temple was amazing!! This time I went to the temple in Los Angeles and it was really cool. I was super excited to go, I really do enjoy going to the temple and the feelings that you feel while you are there is amazing. I am super glad that we get to go the temple every 3 months, I know Elder Steiner doesn't have a temple close to his mission so he doesn't have that opportunity and he has expressed a lot of sadness from it. I am so blessed to have two temples super close to our mission and to have the opportunity to go as often as we get. I actually found out I could have seen Elder Thomas, who is serving in Arcadia, next week possibly. That would have been really cool. I attached a picture of our District on the side of the temple, and a picture of the front of the temple as we were leaving.
The work in our area is going good, but slowly. We have been spending the past few weeks just trying to get things organized and figure out what members live in our area. We had a few really good lessons, but no one is really progressing towards baptism which is hard. Also we have been struggling with investigators keeping appointments, and finding people to teach. Our biggest problem is we aren't passing by consistently the people we have that they can feel the importance of the Gospel. We just aren't using our time effectively, the resources we have effectively, and working with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. It is kinda like when Elder Kunz and I hit that dead spot in week 3 & 4 of my first transfer. We were just going through the motions and not really working effectively and going outside of our comfort zone. It is kinda interesting to see how I have fallen back into that rutt again and have just coasted the past few days. It actually is kinda sad, and disappointing.
However, back to the temple, I had a really cool experience in the Celestial room today. So I was praying to know how I can be a more effective, and powerful missionary. Then I just turned to a random spot in the Book of Mormon and started reading. I opened to Moroni chapter 7.  The first thing I learned was praying with real intent, having faith to receive an answer and guidance. I looked back on my personal prayers, and they have been pretty basic and not with "real intent".  I have not been exercising my faith and putting my trust in Christ that He will help us in this work. The other thing I learned was having charity towards everybody, other missionaries, investigators, and just everyone. I know for a fact that I haven't been showing that charity towards other people and showing that love of Christ for others. And then tying it all together it later says in the chapter that we need to pray to the Father to obtain charity, with real intent.
I bet most of this doesn't make sense, but in general, I know that this was an answer from our Heavenly Father on how I can be a better missionary. The Spirit was so strong during our temple visit, and it was something I desire to have always. I know that I was taught by the Spirit during that time and it was the Spirit testifying of the truthfulness of Moroni's words. Now comes the more difficult part: Applying what I have learned. But I know that if I do apply what I have learned, our area will begin to blossom like it did in Bolsa Chica.
Well I am out of time. Thanks again for everything. If I can leave one piece of advice: Go to the Temple often. I know that the Temple is the House of God, and we can receive guidance, and answers to our questions when we go to the temple often.
Love you all,
Elder Roberts

This is the Familia Campos. Ivan is on the left, the mom is next to me, and Leslie is on the right. The kids are members, but the mom isn't because she can't get married. But they are an awesome family and the mom makes super good Horchata (It's a Spanish drink)

This is the Familia Salcedo. These are the kids, the parents weren't home. Everyone are members except Kevin who is next to me. But he is close to getting baptized, and he is dating of the Salcedo's girls

Bet you recognize this family. It is la Familia Sobrinho, the family we baptized. They are by far my favorite family and I love them to death. Just a heads up, they are planning on coming to Utah in April for Conference, and possibly to visit Elder Kunz's family. So you will have to make sure Elder Kunz introduces you  guys to them.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 14, 2013

Hey guys,

Wow alot has happened this past week, both here and back home. Definitely alot of emotion and personal revelation this week. But overall a great testimony building week for sure. I know for me this week has strengthened my testimony about Christ and His work here, along with a greater desire to serve and help others come unto Him.

I am sorry to hear about Adele. It definitely was a good decision to invite them to my farewell and to have the lunch right after church. Looking back on it, I can tell we were all in tune with the Spirit at that time. I am really moved by dad's experience and impressed with his ability to follow the Spirit and to be an instrument in the Lord's hands for His children. I have always been impressed by your ability to follow the Spirit and to act immediately on those impressions. It definitely is something I am trying to improve on and follow your example for me. Please let everyone there know that I am deeply sorry for them and I will be praying for them daily. Also let them know that I really did love Adele and really did think she was a perfect example of Christ. Her ability to love everyone, just like Christ did, and go about doing good is a really good example for me and one I am trying to apply here in California. Thank you for updating me on this.

So to answer a couple of your questions. I am in Whittier and our area is pretty huge, mostly because the stake here is huge. Our area is bigger than the entire stake in Huntington Beach North it is crazy. We don't have too many investigators right now so we are working really hard to find new people to teach. But the investigators we have a pretty solid and have really good potential to progress. The biggest difference here in Whittier is that the Hispanics are all over and not in small pockets in the area. So it makes finding a little more difficult. My companion is Elder Curtis from Boise Idaho and this is his last transfer here on the mission. We live with members, which is definitely different than living in an apartment, so it is just us two. We have a car because Elder Curtis has a torn meniscus and it hurts him too much to bike. We are assigned to work in the La Esperanza ward (The Hope Ward, is how it translates) and there are a total of 5 companionships working in this ward. This ward is really good at feeding us and working with us, our Ward Mission Leader is bomb and works really hard to know us and how to help the work progress. Compared to Bolsa Chica this ward does a little better with member numbers and organization. But I don't know if I can put it above Bolsa Chica quite yet. As far as getting to Whittier last week it went really smooth. I got a ride for Hermano Sobrinho, our recent convert. Packing wise everything fit in my suitcases and they worked perfect. Wow hopefully this answers all of your questions.

So like I said this week we have been doing a lot of knocking to find people. We did take time to organize our area better, since the last missionaries here really didn't do a good job keeping the area book up to date. But now that everything is organized, and we have a good vision of what to do in this area, we are going to buckle down and just start working. I have a feeling that this transfer I will improve my ability to follow the Spirit and find those who are ready to hear the gospel. After hearing about dad's experience, it is definitely something I would like, and can really see the blessings that come from following the Spirit. I hope that I can live worthy to be in tune with the Spirit and help the work progress in this ward.

Thank you for all of your support and love. I will admit, living with members and hearing them visit with their family really makes me think about my family and how blessed I am to have a family built strong on the Gospel. There isn't a day that doesn't go by that I don't think about you guys and hope that the Lord is blessing you all as He is blessing me.

 I know that this is His work and it truly is hastening. I love the invitation that Pres. Monson gave at this last conference, "Now is the time for members and missionaries to work together." One invite I have you guys is to study Preach My Gospel especially Chapter 9 about working with members. There is a list of ideas that members can do to help the work. I studied it this morning and loved the ideas. I also really love how Preach My Gospel is for both missionaries and members. I invite you all to study it and come to love it just as you love the scriptures. I have loved studying it and have learned so much from it and know you guys can learn from it as well. 

Thanks again for everything. I love you guys so much and pray the Lord will bless you guys in this time of struggle. Remember, we are much stronger when we are on our knees. I know that prayer is a good way to strengthen ourselves and God does answer our prayers. I love this work and am grateful for this opportunity to be a servant for Him. I share this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Roberts

p.s. Thanks for sending the sweaters.....And the bread it is super delicious, but not as good as yours mom ;) 

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7, 2013

Hey guys,
Wow 3 months ago I arrived here in California....and about 4 months ago I entered the MTC.... can you believe how fast time has flown by?!? I don't know for you guys but it really has flown by super fast. I am done with my training!! The heck I can't believe it I am no longer a greenie any more. Haha sorry just had to do a little venting of emotions.
So ya last Wednesday we received leadership call, and I will be honest, I really thought that I would be training. So we finish up daily planning and I go the bathroom, meanwhile I hear the phone ring and I just know it is the Assistants calling for leaderships calls and I got super nervous. So I come out of the bathroom and Elder Kunz is talking on the phone, doesn't pass it to me and then hangs up. Long story short: Elder Kunz received the leadership calling of District Leader for his last transfer and I didn't receive anything. So I was pretty happy, then realized that the district leader we currently have has been in the area for 1 transfer so most likely he wouldn't get released. Which meant, more than likely, Elder Kunz would be leaving the area and I would be leading the area. But we decided to wait till Saturday to receive transfer calls.
So Saturday comes and goes by fast and that evening our District Leader calls us with transfer facts. Like I stated earlier we were pretty sure that Elder Kunz would be leaving and I would be staying. Haha but the Lord works in mysterious ways, and always has something other than we are planning. In the end Elder Kunz is staying in the area...... And I am leaving this area to Whittier tomorrow. Ya it was pretty shell shocking and one that no one saw coming, even our zone leaders weren't expecting it. So ya me and Elder Kunz won't be companions starting tomorrow. It is a pretty bitter sweet moment; I am excited to go see another area and work hard, but at the same time, I have really come to love the people in our area and the investigators we have. It has been hard going by the members and investigators telling them I am leaving, but I know that the Lord has plans for me up in Whittier and I just need  to put my complete trust in Him.
So other than that boring news..... Como estuvo Conferencia General?!?!? Man I really enjoyed this conference and learned so much it is crazy!!! So we watched at our stake center, in English thank goodness, with the other missionaries, members, non-members, and the Stake President. It was so bomb I have 20 pages of notes of conference. I think the main topics were missionary work (with the missionaries and home teaching), obedience, putting our trust in God, and the Law of Chastity. I really enjoyed Elder Bednar's talk about recognizing the blessings the Lord gives us and using them to their fullest potential. The Lord is going to bless us with what we need at that time, and we need to put trust in Him that He will provide for us. Definitely was a very spiritual experience this weekend and one I really enjoyed. I won't lie I did miss going to the priesthood session with Dad, but hey 4 conferences from now we can go together ;)
So with this week I was pretty nervous after Wednesday. Because I was really scared about being able to lead the area, and was praying super hard to know that I could lead this area the way the Lord wants. I know that he has answered my prayers this week through conference, and our zone meeting last Thursday. The biggest confirmation I received is that I need to work harder, and don't overthink situations. I have not been putting my complete trust in Him and been relying on my own strengths for most of this second transfer. That was the confirmation I received from the Lord, to put more trust in the Lord, get lost in the work (For example talk to more people on the street, lead out in lessons, etc.), and don't overthink every situation, especially thinking about my weaknesses. With this confirmation, I promised with the Lord that I would talk to more people, to not think about my weaknesses, and put complete trust in the Lord. To really put to test His promises that He will be with us, and help us in our needs. I know that He will help me, I just have to get more lost in His work.
Well that sums up everything. Thank you so much for your support and love. I don't know what the Lord has in plan for me up in Whittier, but this is really the time to put my complete trust in Him. I know that by doing so I will find those ready to hear the Gospel, help them feel of His love and come unto this Gospel. Ready, Set, GO!!
Elder Roberts