Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014

Hey Everyone,

Well, like mom described so well in her email to me, another week has flown by and we are now starting the final week of the month. Also another Thanksgiving has approached us! I am sure all of you are wondering what will happen this Thanksgiving for us here in the Great California Long Beach Mission. So we just found out that we are having a mission wide conference that morning at 9:00 a.m., then we will hold District Meeting and Weekly Planning as usual. Then at 3:30 we can go to as many dinners as we want for the rest of the night. Right now we have 1 solid set dinner with a member from Honduras, then a semi-solid dinner set up with our investigator Rosy. I am sure we will find other dinners or other members to chill with for the night. So we are pretty excited for that day.

I have a favor to ask, and I feel bad that you already sent me a package. But would you mind sending me my other Utah State sweatshirt? It has been pretty chilly in the morning running and I have started wearing a sweatshirt instead of a long sleeve. I apologize that you have to send another package because I am sure it is pretty expensive to send them. I really appreciate it.

Sounds like it was a pretty chill week for you guys in Utah. This week, like it says in the subject, this week we had some success, but it was also was one of the most difficult weeks of my entire mission. I will start off by describing the success that we had this week.

So an update with Rosy. So she has been attending a christian church with her friend to find one that she likes. Well on Monday she had a really bad experience with one of the pastors and she didn't like the way that he talked to her. Well, "By their fruits, ye shall know them" she decided that she is going to stop going to that church. Well that opened the door for us to re-teach the Restoration and about how the true church has been restored. She really liked it, and we committed her to be baptized on the 28th of December. She wants her husband to learn as well and support her in this change. But she knows that baptism by the proper authority will help a lot in her life. So she is bomb! We are praying that her husband will listen to us as well, and that she will receive an answer to her prayers.

We have an investigator named Julio. He has been investigating the church for a long time, like over 9 months. He was super focused on renewing his drivers licence and not a whole lot on what we were teaching. So we dropped him about a month ago. Well he passed his test last Tuesday and wants to really commit himself to what he is learning. So we talked about baptism with him, using Mosiah 18 with him and how when the people learned about the truth, they acted immediately and they were immediately blessed. He understood it super well and we invited him to be baptized on the 21 of December. He wanted the weekend to think, and pray about it, and said he will let us knowon Tuesday. So that was a miracle for sure.

Well to be completely honest, that was all the success we had this week. We literally went 2 straight days of not finding anyone at home. So most of our time was talking with people on the street and inviting them to listen to the message of the Restoration. I can tell you that this week was probably one of the most difficult weeks of my entire mission. In fact we had one experience that just cut deep. We were going to try by a potential and his mom was outside of the house. As we got closer her neighbor started talking to her and we decided just ask her if her son was home. Well right as we got close, her neighbor said (In spanish "Quieres hablar con ellos? Porque yo no."), "Do you want to talk to them? Because I don't..." That really cut deep on me and kinda ruined the rest of my day. I probably shouldn't have let it, but after a tough week like we had little things like that kinda stick with you. Plus I fear that I might be getting a cold and that is draining my energy every day. So hopefully, with the holiday, we will have a little bit more success and re-build that fire again.

How is everyone doing with your Book of Mormon reading? If you want to be on track, today you need to be in Alma around page 209 in English. Right now I am loving it! Yesterday I finished up Mosiah and I loved the example of Alma the Elder in Chapter 26. I also started the other day listening to the Book of Mormon in Spanish. We weren't able to get the CD's to our investigator and he is in Mexico right now and won't be back until maybe February. So I thought I would take advantage of them and improve my listening in Spanish.

Well that is the update for the week. Like I said we are hoping to bounce back from last week and find those who are prepared for the Gospel. We are all excited for Thanksgiving and enjoying it with the members and our investigators. Hope you all have a good Thanksgiving!


Elder Roberts

After one night, I got home freezing. So I broke out the Hot Chocolate and wrapped up in a blanket for daily planning.

This is Elder Ortega from Mexico. He works in the same ward as us, in the area just south of us. This is a pretty "typical" dinner at night. El cae muy bien conmigo.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

November 17, 2014

Hey everyone,

Well this week officially was chilly and I wore a sweater every night this week. So yep it is starting to get cold here in Long Beach. But we don't have snow! From the sounds of things the snow is starting to fly in Utah so I am sure that sweaters, snow boots and snow shovels have been coming in handy.

I can't believe that Coach Reeder is going to stop coaching at USU!! Did they say who would be taking his spot? Man ya I really hope that they will let me run again for them because I can't just have 1 season being trained by him. Dang it.... :(

The results from your Bathroom Project looks super good. I am kinda sad that I wasn't around to help out..... But I am sure that there will be some other project for me to do when I get home. Lo siento papi pero estoy en acuerdo con mama, me gusta el color de tu bano. Well done they look super nice, and a successful project.

So this week was pretty successful. Nothing too crazy happened but we definitely had a good week. We had a good zone meeting with our mission president about the changes that he established back on Halloween. It has been cool to see how the Lord has blessed us as we have made these changes part of our mission. I know personally I have felt alot more fire to get out and work hard. This is such a great time to be a missionary in the great California Long Beach Mission!

Well you are all probably going to kill me but I have hit rock bottom on what to share with you. Time just keeps flying by and everything is feeling like a blur. The Lord is definitely helping us out in our area, and little by little it is progressing more. This week we are going to really make the little things work in our area, because we know by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.

Thanks for everything. I promise next week I will have a little bit more to write. Oh by the way how is everyone doing with their Book of Mormon reading? I am in Enos right now and by the end of the day I will be in Mosiah. I know the Book of Mormon is divine scripture from God and it really can help us come closer to our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. Like I had said in my last email I am marking any scripture that talks about Christ and it is amazing to see how it is another powerful testament of Jesus Christ. I hope everyone is having spiritual experiences reading this great book!

Have a good week everyone! Thanks for everything! Remember as you pray for missionary opportunities, the Lord will bless you with them. But if you don't pray for missionary opportunities you won't have such opportunities even though you will interact with the same people.

Elder Roberts

Had a little fun today at Wal Mart and we found these sick Marvel Heroes shirts pretty cheap. So we had some fun today when we got back to our apartment.

Yeah I couldn't resist buy the first batch of Eggnog for the season. Don't worry they were out this week so I have to wait till next week. But it was super tasty!

So we do some of our shopping at a 99 cent store. Well a couple weeks ago they had these sick pancake makers for $2. So I couldn't resist buying it to help me have perfect pancakes for breakfast. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014

Hey Everyone!

Man so last week got pretty crazy after halloween. All of us were just pumped up and ready to apply the new mission goals. This was the first real week that we got to apply these goals and boy did we see some changes. I can honestly say that my faith in this work has increased quite a bit, and I am so glad to have such an awesome mission president to help us improve.

First off, thanks for the update about Stake Conference. Sounds like the new leaders are stepping up to the plate and really leading the stake the way the Lords wants it to be. It always is a great experience to hear from our leaders, both General and Local leaders. It was cool to hear that they applied Elder Bednar's address and the BYU Educational week about using the internet to spread the Gospel. I watched his talk a couple weeks ago and man was it powerful. I almost started crying when he invited us to "Sweep the Earth as like a flood." It was super powerful and I highly recommend watching it because it is so awesome.

Looks like Dad is already applying our mission goal to look for miracles and blessings. That was one thing I was really focusing on this week, "Praying for miracles everyday and eyes of faith to see these miracles. Then every night I write them down in a journal." This week was super full of miracles. Let me just share a few with y'all.

Remember Ortencia? Well, after consulting with our leaders, Elder Higley and I decided that we would try at talk to Ortencia's husband and try to share with him what we are teaching. Well we go by and Ortencia invites us into her house and her husband is home. We followed up on her reading and shared with her a couple Mormon Messages. Then as we were going to leave she told us that we could keep coming by and keep teaching her. YEAH!! That was such a miracle for sure. We are hoping that as she keeps applying the gospel her husband will see the changes and his heart will be more open.

Second miracle. We found an investigator way back in October named Fransisca. We taught her the Wednesday before General Conference and never saw her again because of family health problems. Well we got a call from her saying that we could come by because everything had blown by and gotten better. So we did and found out she has been reading the Book of Mormon and really likes it. So we decided we would invite her to be baptized in our next lesson. After teaching her about baptism we invited her to be baptized. She didn't accept a date, but said she would pray about it and let us know the following week. YEAH!! She is super prepared as well.

Third Miracle. Rosy is progressing super well. She is reading the Book of Mormon daily, texts us the chapters she has read, and has always felt better when she reads it. We also invited her to be baptized and she said yes, but she wants her husband to participate as well and know what we are sharing. YEAH!! So hopefully we will be able to teach her husband this week and commit her to baptism.

So that was just a couple miracles we saw this week. I know for sure that our leaders are inspired and receive revelation from God on how to lead His work in this mission. Also, in my Book of Mormon reading I am in 2 Nephi 9 (I didn't read yesterday or today yet....) and it is amazing. Like I said in my last email usually when I hear challenges like the one we received I am not the most excited person to do so. But I have learned so much from reading the Book of Mormon and I love it. I am highlighting scriptures that talk anything about Christ and His Atonement, that talk about His Gospel, and that have the promise of the Book of Mormon. Pretty much almost every page has something highlighted and are things I have never recognized before. It is awesome!!

So that was our week in a nutshell. Hopefully that gives y'all an update on things. We are in an awesome time to focus on Christ and all that He does for us. I know we are really focusing on helping others come to Christ during this time. I know that I have learned alot more about Christ just by reading the Book of Mormon and and trying hard to help others have similar experiences. Hope you all have a good week!!

Elder Roberts

P.S. Sweater Weather didn't exist this past week because it was so freakin' hot. But this week looks like it is going to be a little chilly in all of the country. Hope y'all are ready for snow! :P

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3rd, 2014

Amados Padres Mios, Amados Hermanos Mios,

Man this week could not have been any more spiritually jammed packed. I did not think that this week was going to be good because of Halloween. Plus, I can't lie, I was pretty excited to take time and clean our apartment on Halloween night. But we had some BIG changes in our mission that just changed everything this week and got me super excited for the remaining time I have on the mission.

First off, thanks for finding those CD's. I really appreciate the time you took to find them for our Investigator. I am positive it will help him enjoy the scriptures and just increase his love and knowledge of our Savior and His teachings. Also thanks for the pictures of Bridget's rugby game. Looks like she is enjoying in and just destroying down there.

All right now for the details of what happened this week. So on Tuesday we found a pretty solid investigator named Rosy. She has suffered from depression the past few years and is barely starting to recover and is still suffering from anxiety. We found her contacting and she had some bomb questions about the plan of salvation, and knowing why there are so many churches today. So we taught her on Tuesday, with a member, and she just accepted everything with alot of excitement. She also has expressed numerous times that she just feels more happy as she talks with us about God. In fact, she wants to stay in contact so much that she will text us and so far this week she has fed us twice. So ya she is super bomb and super prepared. This week we are going to really focus on contacting her daily so she can get in the habit of reading from the Book of Mormon regularly and praying to know this is true.

Ok now for what happened on Halloween. So we had a pretty solid morning and afternoon of working. We contacted some cool people and some of our investigators. Then around 4 o'clock we get a call from our ZL's saying that President wants every zone in the mission to hold a zone meeting at 8 o'clock sharp and that some big changes were going to happen. No we did not get IPads.... Our ZL's had their Mission Leadership Council with President that day and he announced some big challenges. So from 6-8 pm we were in our apartment cleaning (By the way, our bathroom is SPOTLESS! I got that bathroom looking super clean) and then we met with our zone at the church building at 8 anxious for these big changes.

So here is a little bit of details. Around this time last year, we, as a mission, set a goal to baptize 70 people before the end of the year. Well we blew that goal out of the water and got 91 baptisms. So then, after that, we would set Monthly Baptismal Goals and strive to achieve those goals. Well we never achieved our monthly goal. We would get close, but we never achieved our goal. In fact we started getting less and less than our goal as the year went by. Well President kinda got tired of us not achieving our goals and decided a change needed to happen. So he changed the goals that we are focusing on and also set some challenges for us to achieve to help us increase our faith. The challenges were:

1. 75 Baptisms before December 31.
2. Every missionary in the mission will read the Book of Mormon, starting at the beginning, and finish it before December 31 (So we have about 60 days to do so).
3. Every day at 6:30 am and 10:00 pm, every missionary will get on their knees and ask God to bless them with a Miracle that day. Also to ask for the Eyes of Faith to see these miracles.
4. Every night, every missionary will write what miracle(s) they saw that day in a journal.

When I heard those goals, I got super super excited and felt that I could achieve those goals. Mostly because I feel like I have "failed" our mission because I haven't felt like I have helped our mission achieve it's goals. In a sense it felt like 17 month year old Elder Roberts died, and a new Elder Roberts was born. That night is always going to be a night that I will never forget. It was such a powerful spiritual night and I could really feel like we became more united as a zone, and as a mission that night. So that night we prayed for a miracle to happen the following night and we went to bed.

The following day during personal studies I started reading the Book of Mormon to start our challenge (I need to read about 9-10 pages a day in order to achieve this goal). I was thinking to experience before the mission when we got challenged to read the Book of Mormon in a set time and I didn't really have a great desire to do it in a set time. But this time I felt super excited to do this challenge. Man just within the first 10 pages I learned so much, and I could feel the Spirit testifying that the Book of Mormon is true. Every time after that has been the same.

So this week my testimony was strengthened like crazy. First off it confirmed to me that our Mission President is an inspired and guided leader of this mission. I know that he receives revelation directly from our Heavenly Father on how this work can progress better and how to help us work with more faith and trust. I know that I got super excited for these changes, especially because I want to contribute to these goals and help our mission achieve it's goals.

I want to invite you all to join with us with these goals. Maybe you can't help too much with our baptism goal. But you can join with us in our goal to finish the Book of Mormon before December 31, Pray for miracles in your own life, and then write those miracles in a journal. I know that by doing so you will recognize the hand of the Lord more in your life and your faith will increase dramatically. Just like Elder Bednar said in the General Conference last november about having eyes of faith to see His hands and His blessings.

So ya that was what happened this week. Like I said, there were alot of things I have changed to help me be a better missionary. I had a good visit with my ZL's to help me set some appropriate goals and plans so I can do my part to help our mission have success. This mission is awesome and I know that our Heavenly Father has called me to be here at this time specifically. I am so grateful for all that I have learned and for the experiences my Heavenly Father has blessed me with so I can learn.

Well hope you all have a good week. Thanks for everything!

Elder Roberts

P.S. (Feel free to laugh as you read this section, but stop immediately when you finish) I broke out the sweaters this week. Yep it got down into the 60's this week and I started wearing sweaters.... HAHAHAHA........stop laughing ;) LES QUIERO!!