Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December 29, 2014

Que tal todos?

So ya ummm....... Another week has flown by because of the Christmas holiday..... ummm...... ya that is all I got to say. Have a good week!

Haha just kiddin'! How was all of your guys Christmas? Yes Bridget I was really jealous of the Red Meat night. Thanks for rubbin' it in! You joke around that we ate tacos and tamales and you were correct on both of them. Christmas eve we ate tamales about 3 times that night. And Christmas day we ate tacos and more tamales. So ya I was jealous of the Red Meat night.

So our Christmas was a blast! We started off by running along the harbor in Downtown. We were right next to the aquarium and the lighthouse and it was gorgeous! A great way to start the Christmas day: Enjoying the beautiful creations of our Lord and God. Then we returned to our apartment and made cinnamon rolls with Eggnog before studies. Then had an awesome study in the Book of Mormon and reading about our Savior's birth in the scriptures and Jesus the Christ. After opening up some of my gifts during Companion Study we took off to our ward mission leader's house to Skype home.

Afterword we went to the Church and chilled with the missionaries in our zone and the other zone. We watched "Other Side of Heaven" and had a Graham Cracker Building contest. Unfortunately we did not win, but me and another Elder had fun using our engineering skills to build the future Long Beach Temple. I attached pictures of our zone with the final results and the other zone. I am kneeling down next to the one we built. That night we went to dinner and caroled to more people. So we had a pretty busy Christmas day, but it was amazing. Yes I did enjoy my last Christmas as a full-time missionary.

So to answer mom's question about our mission goals. Unfortunately we did not achieve our baptismal goal. We finished the last 2 months with 57 baptisms. So ya it kinda sucks we didn't achieve that goal. As a companionship we definitely did our best, but it didn't help that we had a whole week were we didn't get out to work due to sprained ankles and sickness. However, I still feel like we could have worked a little bit better and stayed in contact with our investigators a little bit better. So it sucks, but now with the new year, we are really going to keep building on what we have established in the area, and help it keep improving.

This week, we found 2 new investigators that are pretty solid. Both of them were very receptive on what we shared and expressed more desire to learn more. It was pretty exciting to see them be so receptive and desire to learn. This week was also full of missionaries with the cold, including me. So we did several mini exchanges to keep the work going in our area. So it was a pretty crazy week, but a fun one for sure. Passed by super fast but a fun one.

Well this week is going to be a crazy one as well. Our DL has kinda left all his exchanges with us for this week. So it is going to be exchange, regular, exchange and ya. So basically this transfer is going to end super fast. I am kinda nervous for what is going to happen next transfer because our mission loses about 15 spanish missionaries and about another 15-18 spanish missionaries are coming in. So we will see what happens.

Well I need to go, time is up. Have a good week!

Elder Roberts

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December 23, 2014

Hey everyone!

First off, congrats to mom for going through a temple session in Spanish! Now we can go when I get back and you can show off your spanish that you have learned :) Haha no that is awesome.

Ok so what happened this week to talk about. To be honest, we had another difficult week. With all the different meetings that happened this week, we didn't have the greatest contact with our investigators. So pretty much we just decided to use the trainings we have received recently to find new people to teach. We didn't find anyone new this week, but we did talk to quite a few people and tried staying in contact with our current investigators. So ya that was is pretty much the update for this week. This week we are really going to pound hard the He is the Gift initiative and try to find new investigators from it. So ya that is it. BYE!!

Haha psyc you thought that was going to be it right? Haha jk. How is everyone doing? Ready for Christmas? BTW I did get the packages from Grandma Roberts and Mom and Dad. It was funny the Zone leaders had the big package for 3 days in their car, but never got it to me. So when they did get it to me, they were like "Elder Roberts, please we will give you anything!! Just get your package out of our car it is taking up all the SPACE!!" Haha good old zone leaders.

So for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Christmas Eve is a regular work day until after dinner. Then we go out in our districts and carol to investigators, members, homeless people, a todas! Then Christmas Day we will call home in the morning, then the afternoon will be activities with our zone until dinner. After dinner we will go out as districts again to carol. Haha we have one Elder from Montana who is kinda refusing to carol because their isn't any snow... Haha ya I might have to agree with him. But it will be fun! We are planning on eating alot of tamales on both days because that is what most hispanic people eat during la navidad. Ya I am really hoping that this week I can get back into running so I don't gain anymore weight on the mission...

Ok now I am done because I don't know what more to say. Plus I am afraid that if I keep talking now, then I won't have anything to tell y'allon Thursday. Hope you all have a good week! Hope y'all are practicing your spanish so we can do the call in Spanish :P Nos vemos!!

Elder Roberts

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 16, 2014

Buenas Tardes!

And week 2 of this transfer has ended. For those that are wondering why I am writing my email on Tuesday, we had a General Authority visit our mission and we met with him yesterday. So today was our Temple trip which means P-Day was moved to today. No we did not get IPads.... :( I will talk more about our visit with Elder Baxter a little bit later.

So everyone was asking about the weather here. We have received quite a bit of rain the past week. In fact, as I am writing this email, it is raining right now. We received quite a bit of rain Thursday night. It rained so hard that I couldn't sleep at all... :( Usually we leave our windows open so the room stays cold, but it was raining so hard that it woke me up. So I shut the windows and went back to bed. Well an hour later I wake up again because the wind was shaking our windows pretty loud. So I stuffed my exercise shirts into the window to try and muffle the sound. Ya Elder Brown was pretty confused waking up to a window full of shirts :P There is the LA "River" that runs through our area. I say "River" because on a regular day it looks like a canal. But on Friday morning, the water was pretty high and running pretty fast. Other missionaries got a flood warning during the night so that goes to show how much water we received. So ya that was a blessing for sure.

As for my ankle it is doing good. I went this whole week just wearing my ankle brace. I was able to get out and work the entire week which felt really good. On Friday I was really tempted to go run, but I had the thought that I needed to just rest this week and wear my brace every day. And if I did so, I would be able to get out and run this week. We didn't run yesterday because we did laundry, and today was our Temple trip. So we will see if tomorrow I can get out and run for a little bit.

A couple more answers before I get into some details. We still don't know if we will be able to Skype home or not. They are kinda holding back on that piece of detail, but for sure next week we should know. When we find out, I will probably have one of our members call home and give you all the details if I don't have all the details by Monday.

My Book of Mormon reading is going super well. Right now I am in Helaman 5, so I am a little bit behind as of right now. But I am loving it. Like mom said in her email, the Christmas story in the Book of Mormon is just as good as the Bible's. I am getting really excited to read about the signs of His coming, and then to read about His personal ministry to the Nephites. So keep reading on! The end of the year is coming, so hopefully everyone isn't too far behind.

Ok, so what happened in the Great California Long Beach Mission last week. On Tuesday and Wednesday, we had some super solid lessons with our Investigators Rosy and Fransisca. It was good to teach Fransisca because we hadn't seen her in more than 3 weeks. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and she was understanding everything perfectly. In fact, she was answering questions before we would even ask them. We weren't able to teach her again this week, but we are hoping that this week, we will finish that lesson, and commit her to baptism. As for Rosy, we read 2 Nephi 31 with her to help her understand the Doctrine of Jesus Christ a little bit better. She made a great connection at the end of the lesson that this is the only true doctrine that will bring us eternal life. However, she said that right now she doesn't believe she can change from being Catholic. So we are going to go over all the lessons with her, and see if we can help her see what God has restored to the Earth and then go from there.

On Thursday we had our Christmas Zone Conference. We watched the First Presidency Devotional, I really liked Elder Maynes talk about Christ and His earthly family. Then President gave a training about teaching simply which was super good. I had kinda fallen away from teaching simply and by so doing, our investigators haven't been progressing as well. So it was good to talk about teaching simply and how it does help our investigators understand the doctrine and have a desire to live it. There were some other Elders who gave trainings, but the training that most effected me was Presidents training about teaching simply.

Cool experience happened on Sunday. So the mission has departure firesides for the missionaries going home at the end of every transfer. Well, because of Christmas, some Elders wanted to go home early, like today early. So the mission held a departure fireside for those who went home. Well, Elder Brown and I weren't planning on going, but at the last minute our investigator decided to go and to take us. So we went! Well I am super glad I got to go because I saw two families that I taught in Whitter, la familia Berriel y la familia Guzman! I was super happy to see la familia Guzman because I literally haven't heard from them for almost 6 months. So to see them really made me happy and grateful that our investigator decided to go. Plus we will be going to the regular departure fireside at the end of the transfer, and I will see these families again :)

Ok so the visit from Elder Baxter. First off, it was a super spiritual, full of learning, and funny conference. First, President Tew talked about the essence to missionary work: Love and Charity. Then Sister Tew talked about using family history to help recent converts and less actives see the big picture and how they play a role in helping their ancestors receive the Gospel and help their future generations maintain in the gospel. Then Sister Baxter talked about how the mission is laying a foundation for the rest of our life. I had never really thought about that until the last few weeks: that the things I am learning on the mission will effect my life forever. To be honest I totally agree with that statement, and am sure that everything that I have learned the past 18 months will have a lasting effect on my life, as well as the upcoming 6 months.

So Elder Baxter training was on finding. He focused more on talking with everyone and teaching when you find, finding when you are teaching. He really did bring in alot of good ideas to help with contacting. He shared some scriptures in D&C about opening our mouths and they shall be filled. One thing I learned was this: The Lord promises us that as we open our mouths, they shall be filled with the words to say to those we come in contact with. So the words we speak aren't our words, but His. Then we read later that the elect hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and hearken unto it. So as we just seek to open our mouths and talk with everyone, we learn to say what the Lord puts into our hearts, and then the elect and prepared will hearken unto His voice and seek to obey it. Kinda cool right?

So that was most of Elder Baxter's training. He most offered us word of encouragement to overcome any doubt, fear, or worries we might have by talking with others. It really did strengthen my faith that the Lord will work through us, but it takes faith, practice, crashing and burning, and letting the Lord lift us up when we do fall down. So that is the goal for these last 6 months: Seek to speak the words that the Lord would say, have patience while overcoming this weakness, and let the Spirit guide me to those who are ready to hearken to the voice of the Good Shepherd.

So ya that is everything. Sorry for the giant epistle, alot happened this week. Thanks for everything you guys do. Hope you all are having a Christ filled Christmas, and are seeking to have His Spirit part of your Christmas Celebration. I know this Gospel is true. I can't tell you how strong the Spirit was as Elder Baxter spoke to us. I know that the Lord has once again restored His Gospel to the Earth, and has chosen His servants to lead us. I know that we will not go astray as we heed their counsel.

I love you all! Have a good week!

Elder Roberts

p.s. I forgot to bring my camera today, so next week expect pictures of our temple trip.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December 9, 2014

Que Tal!

How is everyone doing? Another week has gone by and December is already flying by! Hahaha first off who is confused about the subject?? Hahaha maybe those who have served missions know what it means, but for everyone else haha no I didn't kill a sister missionary. Dead sister just means that an Elder has 18 months on the mission and the sister missionaries who came out with him have died (finished their mission). So ya the big 18 months on the mission! Unfortunately I didn't have time to burn a pair of pants, nor did I have an idea of where to burn them since we are in Long Beach. But maybe I will try to do it this week :) But ya it is kinda scary to think that I only have 6 months left!

So like I said in my last email we had transfers this week and I got a new companion: Elder Brown. He is from Bend, Oregon and has about 6 months in the mission. He is super patient with me which is super good. With my ankle I was able to start walking on it a little biton Monday, but it was pretty achy on Tuesday, so we stayed in for most of the day. Kinda the same story with Wednesday and Thursday. But Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we got out and worked the entire day and the pain was very minimal. Pretty much now I can walk with no pain. I am going to keep wearing my ankle brace this week and the nurse is going to send me some exercises to strengthen it. So my goal is to be back and running next week :)

So this month and transfer is going to fly by like nothing. This week we have a Christmas Zone Conference, next week we have a General Authority visiting our mission and we are going to the Temple next week. Then the following week is Christmas and then the year is basically over. CRAZY!! It kinda isn't fair that time is flying by so freakin fast! I did recognize the scriptures on the Calender you sent me and I write them down in my planner so I can remember then during the day. Yeah thanks for that, it is helping me focus more the on the Savior this Christmas. BTW who has seen the video, HE IS THE GIFT?? Yesterday was when it was it took over Youtube and was right on the front page. Can someone see how may views it has so far? Bomb video I love it! I wish we had IPads so I could watch it everyday and share it with people right on the spot.

So this week was difficult, but it felt good to get out and work. Like I said earlier we took time on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to rest my ankle and only had Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to work. We found all of our investigators which was good. We taught Rosy and Julio, our two most solid investigators. Rosy is still working towards her baptism date for the 28 of December. But she hasn't come to church recently so we are probably going to have to move it back. Then Julio is still dragging his feet to be baptized. So we invited him to start reading the Book of Mormon again, and see if this book does talk about Christ. Then to really pray and ask God specifically if this book is true. It was a good lesson and he seemed committed to do so.

Other than that, we found our other investigators and set up return appointments for this week to teach them. We are super excited for lesson with one se llama Fransisca. She has been super busy, but she is also super prepared for the Gospel. In fact, as we were leaving she asked us if there was anything she could study or read so she could be ready for our visit. So that just goes to show how prepared she is, we just need to help her understand the doctrine and live it.

Outside of that, we had a hard time finding anyone else. We have mostly been trying to talk with everyone that the Lord puts in our path. In fact, I feel like this week I have improved dramatically with contacting. There were some times, I would see someone and just start talking to them and it didn't feel like I was doing anything. I know that He has helped me alot to find His children that He has prepared to receive his Gospel.

Well that is this week in a nutshell. Thanks for the picture of Matt's wedding invite. I am going to send him an email and see how he is doing. Thanks for everything you guys do! Hope you all have a good week! If you haven't share the "He Is The Gift" video with someone :)

Elder Roberts

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December 1, 2014

Que tal mis queridos hermanos?

Hope everyone had a really good Thanksgiving! From the updates that Mom and Dad gave me, it sounds like everyone was well fed and had a good holiday. Did you guys survive Black Friday? Any good deals? Or are you all busy right now with Cyber Monday? Haha I am positive that everyone had a good Thanksgiving, and are now anxiously waiting for Christmas.

I will get the details about our Thanksgiving out of the way right now. We only ate 1 dinner because we were slow talking with members to go visit. We ate with one family, la familia Garcia, and it wasn't your typical Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of turkey, mash potatoes, and the whole nine yards, we ate ribs with rice and potato salad. It was super good and we ended up staying the rest of the night with them chilling and relaxing.

So that is what happened on our Thanksgiving. Here is what happened throughout the week. I will warn you all now, if you thought last week was a difficult week this week was worse. First off, on Monday I re-sprained my right ankle playing basketball. In fact, I sprained it so bad that I couldn't walk or put any pressure on my foot. I was super angry that I re-sprained it, but for a specific reason that I will explain later in my email. So because I could't walk at all, and we don't have a car, we have been doing exchanges with other missionaries to teach our investigators and I have been stuck inside the apartment all week recovering.

Then, oh yeah it gets better, on Friday both Elder Higley and I woke up feeling a little sick. Then during personal study both of us were throwing up. We are thinking we got food poisoning from our Thanksgiving dinner. So we were stuck in the apartment trying to feel better.

On Saturday I woke up with less feelings of sickness, but with a ginormous headache that was awful. But I didn't dare take any medicine because I hadn't eaten anything all day Friday and didn't want to screw up my stomach. So Saturday was full of sleeping trying to get rid of my headache. Finally that night, I ate a little bit of food so I could take some Tylenol and go to bed.

So that was our week in a nutshell. Oh yeah, we are starting a new transfer this week. Elder Higley is leaving the area to go to the first ward I served in, Bolsa Chica. Then I am getting a missionary named Elder Brown who is fairly new to the mission. So I am kinda worried about leading the area after being stuck inside the apartment for an entire week. So this week was pretty bad and right now I am pretty nervous for the new transfer and what the Lord has in plan for us and His work in our area.

But, even though we had all those bad experiences, we did have a couple good things happen. First off is with my ankle. About 2 weeks ago I started having the impressions to stop playing basketball during p-day so that I am healthy coming back to Utah State to run. Well I kept putting off those impressions saying that nothing will happen. Well later in the week, the impressions came back saying "Stop playing basketball, or you WILL re-sprain your ankle and might cause some problems in the future." But, again, I put off those impressions.

Well come Monday, I am playing on BAM I sprain my ankle. It was that exact moment I realized that the Spirit was talking to me and trying to warn me. So I was angry with myself that I completely ignored the Holy Ghost. But at the same time I learned an important lesson: 1) I learned for a surety that the Holy Ghost does talk to us, and does warn us so we are safe. 2) I learned how the Holy Ghost talks with us and how we can recognize his voice (See 1 Kings 19:11-13; Helaman 5:46; 3 Nephi 11:3).

I know that the Holy Ghost is a gift from God, and he does talk to us. I know that it isn't a loud, powerful voice that talks to us, but it is a soft, pressing voice that if we pay close attention to it, we can hear it talking to us. I know that as we heed the Holy Ghost with diligence and faith, we will be protected and guided in all things.

Ok so Mom knows about it, I am curious who else know. Who has heard of "He Is The Gift" or "El es la Dadiva?" If you have been or recently it is right on the front page. It is an amazing initiative that the Church is doing to help us remember about the true meaning of Christmas. There is a short video that is super, super powerful about the first gift of Christmas: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."- John 3:16.

So this is an awesome thing that Church is doing. In fact they are going all out with this. For example: On December 7th, the Church has bought out the front page of Youtube so everyone can see it. Then the Church has bought out the big boards in Time Square in New York for everyone to see. This is an awesome thing that is happening and we have the opportunity to help it progress. So there are two things you can do to share this video.

1) You can put the video on your Facebook, Twitter, or whatever accounts so other people can see this video.

2) In this months issue of the Ensign they included awesome cards about "He Is The Gift" that you can share with anyone.

So that is what is happening. Like the video says, this time isn't about the gifts, the money or anything worldly. It is about His births and the start of His mission to bring us happiness and eternal life. May we all remember Him and help other remember Him.

Love you all!

Elder Roberts