Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014 - Whittier Blew up!

Hi everyone,
So just to clear up all the controversy about the earthquake. Yes we did feel it, and very strongly. In fact the center of the Earthquake was about 7-10 miles away from our apartment, and we have been feelings small trembles ever since then. It was a 5.1 magnitude, and hit in a city called La Habra. We had 3 main quakes on Friday night: 1st at 8:45 (We were biking home, so we didn't feel anything), the main quake at 9:15 (We were in our apartment and had just finished praying to start our daily planning), and a third quake at 9:30. It was pretty scary to be honest, mostly because it was my first earthquake. It started off sounding like was running around in the apartment above. Then I remembered "We are on the second floor and there isn't anyone above us." It was pretty scary; I did not sleep that night because everything just made me nervous. A few things I learned about earthquake from this experience: 1) You cannot do anything about earthquakes, only wait and hope it doesn't do too much damage. 2) How great are God's creations! It really put into perspective how great His creations are, and how perfect God's plan is for us. And how grateful I am to have accepted His plan and to come to earth.
Ok so other than the earthquake, alot has happened within the past 2 days. So we get transfer facts on Saturday from our DL. He starts off telling Elder Awerkamp that he is leaving to Long Beach, a branch called Ximeno. So I think to myself, "Ok I am staying and will be leading the area, cool." Then our DL say to me, "You new companion is Elder Lloyd, and you need to call him for directions because......You are leaving to Cerritos!" Yep so both Elder Awerkamp and I are leaving Whittier tomorrow morning. They are actually dissolving our area and spreading it out to the other spanish Elders. Not only our area, but also all the english areas as well in the zone. We have 3 english family wards and a single adult ward in our zone. All 3 english wards had 2 companionships of missionaries, now there is only 1 companionship per ward. So they combined alot here. Hence why I say "Whittier Blew Up."
To be completely honest, I was shocked to hear that both Elder Awerkamp and I are getting transferred. We have worked so hard to get the area up and going again, and now to see it get dissolved, it is just super sad. Not only for us, but also for the families we are teaching. Last night we visited with both la familia Berriel, and la familia Guzman and it was soooooo hard to say goodbye to them. We have done alot of good work in this area, and it is so sad. But I know that the Lord is leading the work here and this is what needs to happen. Kinda hard to accept, but just like Nephi said, "I will go and I will do what the Lord has commanded" (1 Ne. 3:7). I am excited to move to a different area, and to start working there. But it is just hard to leave all the great families we have been teaching, and such a great ward.
So ya the past few days have just been crazy. Today is going to be a long day due to packing, getting the apartment cleaned and ready to be closed down, and last few visits with families here in our area. Things have just gone crazy these past few days it has been a little bit stressful and sad. But I know that the Lord will provide a way for us to get everything done we need to do. I also know that He will help our investigators keep progressing towards baptism, and a strong conversion in the Gospel. He truly is leading His work here on the Earth, and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be His missionary and for the experiences He gives me.
Thanks for everything. Have a good time in San Diego. Everything is going well with my clothes, everything is holding up really well. Hope you all have a fun week in San Diego, and don't get too burnt ;)
Love you all,
Elder Roberts

Aqui esta la familia Berriel. Hay Alejando, Julia, Jasmin, y Cristian. Es una familia bien preparado para el evangelio, y les quiero mucho.

Aqui esta la familia Guzman. Hay Ezekial, Reina, Alex, y Karen. Hay dos otras hijas que no estan en el foto porque estan en el hospital. Se llama Cynthia, y Kim. Kim tuvo una cirugia en jueves para su espalda

Mi companero y yo con la familia Cruces. Ellos son miembros, el papa es nuestro lider misional en el Barrio. Ellos tambien nos ayudaba ser amigos con la familia Berriel.

No I was not trying to use our ward mission leaders iPhone to get an update for March Madness. Silly rabbit ;)

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014

Hi everyone,
I sensed a theme in the emails I got from you two and it appears that you two are happy that it is spring. I am guessing that you are excited for the warmer temperatures and no more snow. Just a thought. But glad to hear everything is going good for you all.
Sounds like you saw everyone on you walk. Thanks for all of the updates, sounds like everyone is doing good. If you see Andrew, digalo: Felicidades por su llamamiento a Mexico, vas a disfrutar el idoma bastante. Then ya that is awesome about Brennan and his mission. He sent me an email a couple weeks ago explaining everything. I felt like Alma the younger when I heard about his experience, just full of joy and excited about it all. Kinda crazy that he has been out for a year now, I can still remember when he gave his farewell. Time just keeps moving forward.
Well we are going to be starting week 6 of this transfer. Looking back, I have no idea what happened to the transfer. It just decided to fly by I guess. To be completely honest, I have no idea what is going to happen with transfer facts. Elder Awerkamp and I have been in the zone for the longest, 4 transfers, so I don't know if they will split us up, or keep us together. I have just learned not to guess the transfer facts because 99% of the time you are wrong. So instead I just wait for the suprise, and then buckle down and get to work.
This week has been interesting. It was a little bit difficult, but we still had some awesome experiences. I say difficult because almost every set lesson we had fell through. But it was good because this lead to finding new people to teach, and very spiritual experiences. The two families we are teaching are doing pretty good.
La familia Berriel have just been blessed like crazy this week. Both the parents were able to find work, the kids are doing better learning English, and they are just being extremely blessed right now. We have been working hard to show them that these blessings are coming because of the small changes they have made: Reading the scriptures, praying every day, and coming to church. We are really going to work hard to commit them to baptism this week because they are so prepared.
Everyone else are doing good. Everyone is progressing really well, and starting to see the blessings that come from the Gospel. We are just working hard, and trying to help the people God has placed in our path come closer to Him. I have really come to love the people we are teaching, and they all are super prepared to receive the Gospel. We are trying super hard to teach to their needs, and help them see the specific blessings that come from the Gospel. Sometimes it can be really hard to know their needs, and tie the Gospel into their lives. But I know that when we put the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the center of our lives, we find great blessings and strength. Slowly but surely I am starting to recognized those blessings, and my desire to grow in the Gospel increase. I love being His missionary, and for all that I am learning every day.
Love you all, and thank you for your love and support. Have a good, week.
Elder Roberts

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 17th, 2014

Hey everyone,
First off to put peoples' mindo to rest: I did not feel any earthquake this morning. We were doing laundry at that time and was pretty focused on that. We haven't heard anything about an earthquake till now, so it must have been pretty small. So ya everthing good in that aspect.
So far everything is going good this week. It was cool because I got a letter from Erin and Jordin on Thursday that had a couple family photos that really made my day. I was also super glad to hear that Jordin got accepted to the University of Utah and everything is going well for them.
As far as our investigators, everything is going well with them. Kim Guzman did not get the surgery yet because they needed to wait for the ok from the insurance company plus she wanted to take her finals at the college she is attending. But today she will get them taken, and should get the ok from the insurance company.
La familia Berriel are doing awesome. We introduced them to the Ward mission leader, Hermano Cruces, and they immediately hit off as friends. We had a lesson with the two families on Monday, and set a return appointment for Wednesday. Then on Wednesday right after dinner, we get a text from our DL saying la familia Berriel were with la familia Cruces eating dinner. So we arranged for them to stay there and we went up and had another lesson in their home. So they have really been doing great and progressing very well. They still have a few doubts about the Restoration and Joseph Smith, but they feel that if they keep learning, reading from the Book of Mormon, and praying that they will come to understand more.
So that is most of the news from this week. We are really working hard and have truly been blessed by the Lord this week. I remember when I first got to this area that we pretty much had now investigators and several less-actives. But now we have been able to turn the area around and have alot of great success. I am learning so much this transfer, and know that the Lord is truly blessing us and guiding us in this work. I am grateful for all the support I get from Him and from you all. Thank you for everything and may the Lord continue to bless you.
Elder Roberts

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 10, 2014

Hey guys,
Well another week has flown by, and we are halfway through the transfer. I am very worried that it is just going to fly by right now, and before we know it we will be in June. Elder Awerkamp and I were talking the other night, and we just realized that General Conference is in a couple weeks. We arrived to Whittier right after Conference in October, 6 months ago. It is so crazy because I can still remember the talks given, and everything. It is just flying by way too fast! But we are doing alot of good work in our area, and the Lord is truly blessing us.
Funny that you should talk about the rain we got 2 weeks ago. Because it went from soggy, wet, cold weekend, to hot, humid, 80 degree weather. I guess that is kinda the weather pattern here in Whittier, never is the same weather the following week. It is very similar to back home, mostly because we aren't close to the ocean, so it is mostly desert. I heard that it gets wickedly hot during the summer here, so we will see what happens.
So this week, our two families we are teaching just got blasted with trials. For one of the, la familia Guzman, one of their daughters have had back problems since she was 14 and just barely they found a problem with one of her disks. This caused her to be taken to the hospital, and possibly surgery. We were able to visit her and her family in the hospital on Thursday, the day after she was admitted into the hospital, and the doctors were still trying to come up with a game plan. So we haven't heard from them for a while, and are guessing she had to have surgery. So that was hard trying to visit with them.
Then the other family, la familia Berriel, were just getting blasted with financial problems. It was really sad to see them struggle through it, and try to find work to bring in enough money to pay for everything. But they have been very calm, and have really been exercising faith in the Savior to help them through this trial. Hopefully they will be able to find work this week, and begin to have the funds necessary.
Through all of these trials, and difficulties, I studied quite a bit about patience in our trials, and specific promises that the Lord will deliver us. Every time I have studied this topic, I am led to the experience that Alma the elder had in Mosiah 23-24. You have a group of people who had just make a covenant with God through baptism, and right after they get put into captivity. Doesn't sound too fair. But I love the example that these people show, they continue to put their trust in God, exercise their faith through prayer, and patiently bear there trials. I just love this example and the blessings from God are amazing: Their burdens were made light, they had more faith and patience, and were eventually freed from their captivity.
Through studying this story, I have really come to see how the Book of Mormon is written for us, and how we can "Liken" all scriptures to ourself. As we apply this principle, of likening the scriptures to ourself, we come to have more faith in our trials and we come to find answers to our questions. Then our testimony of the Book of Mormon is strengthened, and our love for it is strengthened. I love this principle that the Lord has given us, and am trying daily to apply it to myself and our investigators.
I am so grateful for this time I have to be a missionary for our savior, Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the trials I have, and the opportunities to strengthen my testimony and faith in His Gospel. Then to share that same love, and experiences with others here in our area. I know he is directing the work here, and He is constantly guiding us to those who are ready to receive the truth. I love Him, and and grateful for all the many blessings I have received from Him.
Hope you all have a great week. Thank you for your example to me, and your love. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Roberts

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014

Welcome to the first p-day of March!! Kinda crazy to believe, but it has arrived. Also week 3 of this transfer has begun. The past two weeks have just flown by it is insane. It makes me worried about the rest of this transfer because it always gets faster at the end of the transfer. But nothing to much we can do about time right, just keep pressing forward.
Like most of you all know, we got pounded with rain the last 3 days. Mostly Friday and pretty hard on Saturday. But it was amazing!! Not only is it an answer to our fast we did last month, but it was fun to be out working in it. It also was a good way to get into peoples' homes because they didn't want us getting wet and sick. Overall we didn't receive any damage as far as nature wise, just the streets are a mess due to all of the trees in Whittier. Makes me super nervous to bike because I don't want anything to puncture my tire. But overall it was fun, and a good week.
Good to hear that things went well with Bridget and her campus tour. I remember my time visiting the campuses, and really digging deep to see what the campus can offer to me. It was a blast and I am glad that she had a good experience. If she does go down to SUU she will have to keep an eye out for Brother Kunz (He isn't a missionary any more).
So this week turned out to be a very successful week. Not only because of the rain, but because the Lord is really blessing us right now. We were able to find some new investigators, get members out to lessons with us, and to top it all off we had 4 investigators come to church yesterday. It was awesome, and they both had a very spiritual experience. In fact, one of them, hno. Berriel, shared his testimony about learning about the gospel and the power of prayer in both sunday school and priesthood. He is doing really well and having some really great experiences with the gospel.
The thing we are realy working hard at doing this transfer is member presents with every set lesson we have. I really believe that the 4 people that came to church today came because they had a familiar face that they could sit by. Also because they had heard of the experiences that these members have had because they come to church. It is such a small thing, but has such an important role in the conversion of these people. So for everyone back home, I invite you to meet the missionaries that work in your ward/stake, and go out on splits with them. Even if they don't have set lessons, still offer to go. I can promise you that the experience you will have is amazing. You truly will feel the joy of missionary work, and come to understand missionary work a little bit better.
Well I am going to end here. Thank you all for you love and support, I know that the Lord is blessing you all.I am so grateful for this opportunity to be His missionary, and help His children here in Whittier. He is truly guiding us to those who are prepared, and is giving us the words to speak that will touch their hearts.
Love you all,
Elder Roberts