Monday, May 18, 2015

May 18th, 2015 ~ THE FINALE!!

Hello Everyone,

So yep here it is, the last email I will send as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because this is my last email, and I will be home in less than 24 hours, I will keep this email short. But that just means I have to share things more in person when I get back, so you can hold me accountable for it.

So this week we had our Temple Trip with President and Sister Tew and the other departing missionaries. It was one of the most spiritual temple trips I have ever had in a long time, also one of the most fun trips. It was a blast being with the missionaries with whom I have served and labored so diligently to bring forth the Gospel to all the World. TO think that we started together 2 years ago is crazy, but also one of the greatest feelings ever. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have served with such amazing Elders and Sisters in the Great California Long Beach Mission.

The rest of the this week was teaching, saying goodbye, and eating dinner with those amazing brothers and sisters of God's Eternal Family. On Thursday I was able to visit with la familia Sobrinho and eat dinner with them. It was actually a really good visit and they asked if I could remember them in my prayers so that one day they can return to Church. That alone showed to me that they know the Church is true, they have just let worldly doubts shake their testimony. I know that God will provide that way for them to continue in this path and keep developing that seed which is planted in them.

Also on Thursday I learned how to make Tinga, finally, with one of our investigator, Angelica, and her daughter, Lesley. This is an awesome family that cares so much for missionaries and I love them so much. Lesley is a member but her mom isn't because she is making big changes in her life in order to join the church. But they love the church and have made giant steps to come closer to our Heavenly Father. It was a great visit with them.

So Sunday was the Departure Fireside for us departing missionaries. I was trying so hard to convince myself and a few others that it wasn't my departure fireside. But it was a great fireside and it was great to see so many amazing people whom I have met, served, and learned with. It was a very bitter sweet moment, but also one of the most spiritual moments as well. Also one of the most stressful moments as well. After the actual fireside got done, we all went into the gym to say goodbye to people and take pictures. Well, as I walked into the gym I couldn't find my camera... I had used it to take a couple pictures before the fireside so I knew I had it, but then I couldn't find it after words. Thankfully Elder Obray had his camera and we were able to use it. After that we went back into the chapel and I found it on the stand.

Ok so that was pretty much the highlights of the week. These past 2 years have literally been the best 2 years of my life. I can not imagine my life without having served a mission here in the California Long Beach Mission. I know that God lives and loves everyone of His children. He has a perfect plan for all of us and knows what will make us happy. I know that through His Son, Jesus Christ, we can become cleaned from the wrong in our life and be worthy to return to our Heavenly Father. I know that the Church that Jesus Christ established was lost for a time, but it has been Restored through a living Prophet. I know that the Book of Mormon is a powerful book of scripture to plainly teach us the Doctrine of Christ and know our Savior. It is also that convincing evidence that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God called to restore the true church of Jesus Christ.

I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for calling me to this great work. This amazing work has not only changed the lives of those I have met, but it has also changed my life. There will be a different Elder Roberts coming off the plane then the Elder Roberts that entered the MTC 2 years ago. I am so grateful for such a loving family and their support towards me and my companions. I am grateful for amazing friends who have set the example for me and have shown their love to me as well. I hope that you all can feel of my love and appreciation towards all of you. While it was Elder Roberts serving in the California Long Beach Mission, he had a large support crew with him the entire way.

Well.... This is it..... It is a very bitter sweet moment, but I know that our Heavenly Father has a plan and will provide the rest of the way. I am so grateful for all this things. Thank you all for everything...

We will see you all tomorrow.

Elder Roberts

Monday, May 11, 2015

May 11, 2015 - The final 100M!

Hi Everyone,

Yep you read the subject line correctly, we are coming off the corner and into the final home stretch. The crowd has been great and the energy in just pumping right now. Every muscle just working as hard as it can to finish off the last 100M. Trying to get those last few points, every runner counts and... Ok that might have been a little dramatic :) But in all seriousness, we are literally into the final 100M, or in other words, my last week as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Happy late Mother's day to those amazing mom's out there. Quick shout out to my mom as well! We had a great chat on Sunday. It definitely made Mother's day that much better. Thanks for all you do Mom!

Ok so this week was solid, but also pretty difficult. We started things off great with lessons on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday we had a good District Meeting and work day. But after Thursday, things seemed to get a little bit difficult. We had a hard time finding our investigators at home and finding new investigators. But, as He always does, the Lord helped us finish off the week by finding a new investigator and getting 4 investigators to church. So I can't complain too much, I guess half way through the week things started to look a bit difficult.

So a couple highlights for this week were our lessons with Juan and Roxanna. Both of them had baptismal dates for the 10 of May and the 17 of May respectively. However, Juan had forgotten that we had set a baptismal date with him and we hadn't taught him everything, and Roxanna hadn't come to church enough times and she didn't feel prepared. So with both of them we had a pretty straight forward talk with them about their desire to be baptized. Both lessons went really well and we have a better idea of where to go with them.

So with Juan he does want to be baptized, but we wasn't understanding what he was reading in the Book of Mormon, nor was he praying to know it was true. So we set a game plan to read with him more consistently to help him understand it more. Plus we are going to cover smaller parts of the lessons with him and commit him to pray specifically if what we taught is true. He also committed to come to church every week with his mom. We also set a game plan for him to continue learning English. He is such a cool guy and very dedicated to learn and grow in the Gospel.

For Roxanna it was very similar. She understands that baptism requires a change of heart and it isn't anything you do and then fall away. So she wants us to continue coming over and teaching her the lessons, but in smaller parts as well and read in the Book of Mormon. It was really cool to see her ask us to help. Plus she proved her desire to change by coming to Church on Sunday for the first time since we started teaching her. So both Roxanna and Juan showed their desire to change and accept the Gospel. Now it is up to us to help them progress and receive answers to their questions.

Well those were probably the highlights of this week. This week is going to be a good week full of dedicated work. On Tuesday I will go to the Temple with President and Sister Tew along with the other missionaries going home this transfer. Then on Sunday it will be our Departure Fireside, Monday Exit Interview with President Tew, and Farewell dinner with President and Sister Tew and the other missionaries. This week is going to fly by, but with every opportunity there is a miracle waiting to happen.

Love you all. Thank you for the support the past 2 years. Hope everything is well with you and we will see you all soon!

Elder Roberts

Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4, 2015

Hi everyone,

I apologize but this email might be a little short because I forgot my Library card and I have less time to email. I guess this is what happens when you get older you tend to forget the basic yet vital details.

So this week was a really stressful yet rewarding. Like I said in my last email, our district has been taking huge strides in the work. We set the goal of having 32 Member Present Lesson and a goal of 15 Investigators at church. Our actual numbers were....31 Member Present Lessons and 6 Investigators at church. We were actually really happy with our member present number due to the fact we still let several lessons fall through without a member present. So this week we decided to bumb up the goal again to 36 Member Present Lessons, which is about 12/companionship. This is really going to stretch our district and our companionship. However we have the confidence that the Lord is providing miracles in our area and it is very achievable.

To answer mom's question: Juan was not baptized this weekend. We had moved his date back a week in order to have enough time to cover the lessons and give him enough time to read the Book of Mormon. However, it has been a struggle to teach him consistently and help him understand what he is learning that it is looking a little bit difficult to help him be baptized this coming weekend. We have also drifted away from teaching Juan according to his needs and teaching more lessons in order for him to be baptized. So this week we are hoping to sit down with him, have a good lesson about the step he is hoping to take, and set a solid game plan with him in order to help him take this step in his life.

This week has just been hitting the pavement hard and working diligently every day. This week we focused on having a member with us at every set lesson and even lessons that weren't set up. We did a better job this week as we had 8 member present lessons as a companionship, 3 more than the week before. We did realize that we had slacked off a bit to end the week and decided to change that. So this week we have the goal of 10 member present lessons while always striving to have a member with us every day this week. It definitely is going to be a stretch, but it is going to be a great growing period.

It has been an amazing opportunity to work with the members in the Bolsa Chica ward. Their testimony of the Gospel is so strong and they provide such a critical relationship with our investigators to help them progress. For example, on Wednesday we had a lesson with Juan and we took a member to it named Ramon. Well those two just hit it off, they spent a good 20 minutes talking about cars and motorcycles and showing off pictures they had on their phone. Then once we got the lesson started about the Book of Mormon Ramon bore a powerful testimony about reading and learning from the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was super strong during that lesson and I was so grateful for Ramon and his role he played in that lesson.

A bit of sad news, Roxanna, who had a baptismal date for the 17 of May, won't be able to be baptized that day. She has been struggling coming to church and in order for her to be able to be baptized she had to come the following 3 Sundays. However she didn't come on Sunday which doesn't leave her enough Sundays in order to be baptized. We were super sad because we had a really good lesson with her at the church in the chapel. The Spirit was super strong and you could tell something was different. At the end we invited Roxanna to come and she said she would. So that was a little heartbreaking. We are hoping to meet with her during the week and try to reset a baptismal date with her.

Ok well I apologize for the short email, but I have very little time remaining. Thank you all for your love and support. These past weeks have been amazing! You can definitely see the Lord's hand involved in this great work. Time is running short sadly so there can be no room for distractions. I love this work and I am so grateful for the time to serve here in the great California Long Beach Mission.

Love you all!
Elder Roberts

P.S. Congrats to mom for surviving the last fast sunday for the past 2 years. You can't stop the countdown :) Love you!

Monday, April 27, 2015

April 27, 2015

Hello Everyone,

Ok who is playing with the time dial?? You can knock it off because it isn't funny anymore. :( I agree with everyone else, time just seems to keep flying by and it is hard to keep track of anything. There was a point where in one day we forgot who we had taught that day and it was kinda crazy. Oh well just means we need we need to be working harder and harder every day.

Thanks everyone for the Birthday wishes and all. I did get the b-day package, in fact the ZL's dropped it off Tuesday morning while we were out working. I absolutely love the GENTRI cd, we listened to it for about 4 days straight and I am pretty sure Elder Obray is sick and tired of it. Haha and thanks for the cake, we had a district cake party at our apartment after District meeting on Wednesday and the cake was gone in about 2 minutes. So thanks for all of the gifts and love!

Ok so what is "Contacting?" In Preach My Gospel we are taught that we should talk with EVERYONE. Elder Ballard included a promise that if we get in the habit of talking to 10 people a day, 1 person will accept our message. So contacting is when we are out working and talking with everyone as we move from set plans to set plans. I have actually found it is alot more simple to talk to someone instead of knocking and guessing what is on the other side of the door. So with Araceli we were working in an apartment complex looking for someone and we stopped and talked to her. I remember at the start of my mission when I did not want to talk to anyone and contacting was not my favorite activity. But now it is probably one of the most successful ways of finding new people to teach. So that is contacting.

Now about mother's day to answer dad's question. We do not know what the plan is for Mother's day. I am trying not to think about that week because it is my last week in the mission, so I am trying to imagine that week months away. But when we get details I will let you all know.

So this week was full of miracles and huge progression, for us and the Elders in our Ward. We had been struggling getting members out to lessons with us and we wanted to change that. So we set the goal of 28 Member Present lessons before the week ended. Well we were all set on the goal and we worked super hard to achieve it. We finished the week with....27 member present lessons as a District. However, as we evaluated, we realized we still let several lessons slip through without a member. So we were excited that we got so close to achieving our goal, and we are even more excited for our goal for this week of 33 Member Present Lessons as a district. It is going to be exciting to see how the Lord will bless us as we strive to work hard and effectively.

So on Thursday I did exchanges with Elder Rebolloso and I went to his area for the day. Well that morning at 11 we thought we had a solid lesson set and didn't set super solid back up plans. However, the lesson got cancelled and we blew through all our back up plans by11:30. We were a little worried how the rest of the morning was going to happen. So we said a prayer and started to go through the potentials they had in the area. We went by and one was home and invited us share a quick 10 minute lesson with her. We reviewed about God's love for the family that he sent His Son Jesus Christ and invited her to read the pamphlet. So right there we found a new investigator. We decided to knock a little bit in her comlex and about 10 minutes later we found another new investigator. It was such a huge blessing to see how the Lord guided us to those who looking for the happiness that comes from the Gospel.

So updates on Juan and Roxanna, our investigators with a baptismal date. Juan is still excited as ever. On Thursday we taught him more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and baptism. Later that same day, the YSA Elders had a baptism and Juan wanted to attend. So he did and really enjoyed the Spirit that was present. We answered more of his questions and that got him more excited. This week we are hoping to have a member take him to the LA Temple Visitor Center. He is awesome and loves everything about what we are sharing.

For Roxanna, she is progressing but a little more slowly. We only taught her once about Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. She is still yet to attend church and if she doesn't come this sunday we will have to move her date back. So we are planning on teaching the importance of Church attendance and the blessings that come from this act of faith.

One more story/miracle and I will finish up. So this week was full of teaching opportunities that we had been struggling finding new investigators. On Saturday we had more time to find and we prayed specifically for help to find 2 new investigators. After lunch we tried by one of our investigators and found her husband, Johnny, who invited us in immediately as well. We taught about the Restoration and was accepting everything. At the end of the lesson we invited him to pray specifically if Joseph Smith was a prophet and he did! Afterwords we said he hadn't felt so good in a long time. It was a boss lesson, the only bad thing is they might be moving out of the stake. But we will pass him on to the other missionaries.

After dinner, Elder Obray decided to try by a potential that I had tried by before and hadn't had success finding. So I was a little hesitant, but I trusted him and we took off. We knocked on the door and the person we were looking for answered the door. Her name is Brenda and she let us share a quick 10 minute lesson about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. She was very interested in learning how we can receive forgiveness and become clean again. She invited us back on Monday to share more. At that point I was just so grateful for everything. One, that God had answered our prayer of finding 2 new investigators and two, that I trusted Elder Obray to lead us to a new investigator. Miracles like none other.

Ok well hopefully everyone is still awake and hasn't fallen asleep with this mile long email. It is amazing to see the success that the Lord is giving us this week. I am super excited to see what we can accomplish this week with our District Goals and plans. I know this work can change lives and is a powerful work. I know that He is leading it and we are only instruments in His hands.

Have a good week! Les Quiero!!

Elder Roberts

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 20, 2015

Hi everyone,

Well there wasn't any snow that fell here in sunny California if you want to know. But when I saw that part in your email I couldn't help but laugh knowing that is typical Cache Valley. Hopefully it decides to be done snowing when I get back.

All right answer to mom's question. I said we would be doing a lot of exchanges this week because of Leadership training. However, this transfer they decided to do things a little different. Usually only the District Leader, Zone Leaders, and Sister Training Leaders attend Leadership Training. However, they decided to have all the missionaries who have more than 1 year in the mission attend Leadership training and then on Friday they had another training for those who didn't attend Leadership Training, all the Junior Companions. So on Tuesday I was on a temporary exchange with Elder Petersen, then on Friday we were on exchanges again because our companions had their training. So a bit stressful, but overall it worked out and we had successful days.

With exchanges I only do them with Elders in my district and my zone leaders. Thankfully the Elders in our district all work in the same ward as us, so it makes things super easy not having to worry about exchanges in English wards. So for example: This transfer I have 4 exchanges to do. 2 of them I go to the area of the other Elder, and the other 2 I stay in our area and bring the other Elder to my area. I already have done one exchange, I am planning on doing one this week and next week I will do both exchanges and be done with them.

Well sounds like things got crazy for you guys back home. I am glad to hear that Erin and Jordin are all right. When I saw they got in a wreck with a Ford F-350 I got super nervous. But glad to hear they are all right. I imagine Erin is enjoying the stereo system in the Nissan. Hopefully everything goes well with their car shopping and with end of year schooling items.

Ok so like I said on Tuesday we had Leadership Training with President and Sister Tew and the Assistance. It was a good meeting, however some of the trainings were a little hard to follow. The only training that really stuck out to me was President Tew's training about teaching simple truths by analyzing what you want your investigator to know and accept after you teach a certain principle. After hearing that I had that moment of "Dang it, why didn't I apply that at the start of my mission?" So this week we have been applying that principle more and more into our companionship studies and teaching appointments. It does help you get through the fluff and teach the plain and simple truths necessary for conversion. So hopefully this week we will continue to see success with that.

While I was at the Leadership Training, Elder Obray and 2 other missionaries went and taught Roxanna about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While teaching her, Roxanna started putting pieces together about what God expects of us and things started to click. She accepted a baptismal date for the 17 of May, the Sunday before I come home. So we will also be focusing on her to help her take this step in her life to come closer to God. Yep I was pretty proud of my son :)

On Friday we had a really good lesson with Juan, our investigator with a date for the 3 of May. We talked about the Book of Mormon and he was super excited to start reading it. He had heard about it from him mom and was super curious as to what it contains. So we read with him 1 Nephi 1 and that just got him more excited to keep reading. He is still excited for his baptismal date for the 3rd of May. It is coming up fast and we still have several more things to teach him. But there is no doubt in my mind that he will be baptized before I come home.

On Friday we also found a new investigator, Araceli. We found her contacting and she immediately invited us back to share more about the family. So we did and her first question was "What religion are you?" We told her and she immediately started to cry. She had attended several of our sacrament meetings with her friend in Santa Ana. But when she moved here she lost contact with the church and her friend. But then we found her and she was ready to listen to the lessons. We taught her about the Restoration and she loved and accepted everything. We are going to go by her again tomorrow and hopefully commit her to baptism this week.

Haha so change of topic. This is a warning that I am giving to everyone that I learned from my own personal experience. So on Saturday some other Elders wanted to try Wiener-schnitzel for lunch. Well, first off it was disgusting I don't recommend it, second I got hit with a super bad food coma afterwords. It was bad and made it super hard to stay focused for the rest of the day. But we survived...barely.

Ok well I think that sums everything up for the week. Things are really going well here in Bolsa Chica A. It goes well with the sentence that Mom shared with me about the last few weeks of a missionaries mission. It can be some of the most fruitful weeks ever. We have 2 investigators committed for baptism and we are working hard with so that they can come closer to our Savior Jesus Christ through His example. This week it will be working hard with the members of the ward to help these amazing people take this step in their life.

Hope you all have a good week! Love you all!

Elder Roberts

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 13, 2015

Greetings from the Great California Long Beach Mission!

Well sounds like things are going well back home. I am still getting over the fact that both Tyler and Justin have finished their missions and are home now. But it sounds like both of them were powerful instruments in the hands of the Lord. I feel like Alma in chapter 17 when he meets back up with the sons of Mosiah to hear of their labors. Also to hear of the growth they had experienced. It will be fun to come back and talk with them face to face and share those experiences. Haha and about Tyler getting back into 4-wheeling the day he gets home. Haha there is one thing that didn't change. I am still waiting on that email....

Congrats to Grandma and Grandpa Bennett for the Temple Workers. That sounds like such an awesome opportunity to serve in the House of the Lord. Now I know what I will be doing every Friday in the afternoon when I get back.

Ok so to answer mom's question about the Departure Firesides. So the last sunday of the transfer our mission has a Departure Fireside for the missionaries going home the following tuesday. This is just an opportunity for the missionaries to bear their testimony one last time and for the members and investigators to say good bye to the missionaries they have met and served with. For the missionaries we are allowed to go to the Departure Fireside if we bring and investigator, if not you just stay in your area and work for the night. It is in English but there is translation for those who only speak Spanish. So as I am nearing the end of my mission, the sunday before I come home I will bear my testimony and say good bye to those I know. Me explico?

Ok so where to begin for this week. Tuesday we had transfers and the new missionaries arrived to the zone. Also on Tuesday we had a bomb lesson with Juan Bautista, our investigator that at first we didn't know he wasn't a member. We taught him about the Restoration and he loved everything about it. We invited him to be baptized on the 3rd of May and he accepted! He was super excited to keep learning more and has great intentions to achieve this goal. He came to church yesterday and loved all the testimonies that were given. In fact he also wanted to say something, but he didn't know what to say. This week we are going to keep teaching him English and move onto the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement.

Wednesday we had a cool experience. So we had a solid set with our investigator, Rodger. However he had to work and didn't tell us. So we were stuck there without any solid plans with over 2 hours to work. So we said a prayer and started following the promptings we received. Well around 8:20 we still hadn't taught anyone, we had talked to several interested people but just couldn't teach. Well we decided to try by one more potential before returning home. Her name is Guadelupe and when we arrived she invited us in immediately. We previously had an appointment with her the Saturday before but she wasn't there. She apologized for not being there and told us she was ready to learn. So we talked briefly about God's love for us and His plan for all of us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was awesome to see how God truly guided us to someone, even though we hadn't had success until 8:30 that night. A good example of patience and diligence to achieve the work of the Lord.

On Thursday we taught a family, the parents are Julio and Melissa. So we had a set with them and they invited us over earlier to eat dinner with them. Afterwords Melissa started sharing how her aunt and cousins are members of the church and she really admires the example they are to her, especially the light they show. Julio also shared how he always recognized missionaries back in Mexico and he could see something different in them as well. So we shared how that is the light of the Gospel and it is that light that you can know the truth. Both of them stated they would like their family to have that light. Melissa also brought up a question about temples and the importance of them. So we briefly talked about temples and eternal families. We also invited them to visit the temple in Los Angeles and they were very excited. They are such a nice family and we hope to really help them find that light of Christ.

Well those are the highlights of the week. This week is going to be another hit the pavement hard week. This week is going to fly by because of several meetings and we are going to start exchanges this week. So there is no time waste this week.

Hope you all have a good week!

Elder Roberts

Don't know if anyone saw this, but this is Cruz a member in my last area in Long Beach. Ya kinda crazy. Funny story behind it though. As she was taking the last one, I looked up and saw President Tew looking right at us. So I thought I was going to be chastised, but he just laughed and moved on. Haha Have a good week!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April 6, 2015

Hello Everyone,

Ok I am going to get the transfer updates out of the way right now. Elder Obray and I will be staying together working in the Bolsa Chica ward in Westminister and Huntington Beach. I am still a District Leader and we will be having a boss District this transfer. Elder Higley got transferred to Cerritos and Elder Rebolloso will be companions with Elder Petersen (Yes Cache Valley Elder Petersen, this Elder keeps following me around). Elder Jenkins is finishing his mission tomorrow, so Elder Humphreys will be companions with Elder Ortega as our Zone Leaders. To compare how strong our District is going to be, think of the 2014 NBA Championship Spurs. We are super excited for this transfer to just blow things up.

Ok so how was Conference for everyone?? I think this was probably one of the best General Conference within the past few years. Every talk was just so applicable to everyone, especially to me, and there was a lot of great counsel given. We listened to 4 of the 5 sessions in English, but the Sunday Morning session we watched in Spanish because our ward streamed it to our building and we had a little pot luck in between the sessions. I wanted to stay for the Afternoon session, but Elder Obray didn't understand anything said so we watched it in English. I think some of my favorite talks were by Elder Bednar, Elder Christofferson, President Monson and President Eyring. I loved President Monson's talk about the temples as well. It really got me excited to attend the temple more and feel more of that peace. When they announced the temple in Thailand, I immediately thought of Brennan and how excited he probably was to hear that. This was such an amazing weekend and very spiritually filled.

As for the rest of the week, we just wanted to work extra hard. Usually, in the past with General Conference, I have kinda slacked off knowing that most of the weekend would be watching General Conference. However, I really wanted to work hard to 1) Finish the transfer off strong, 2) Invite everyone to listen to the words of a living prophet and 3) I felt like if I worked hard, I would be more prepared to receive personal revelation. Well we accomplished all three of those goals and it made the weekend even that more sweeter.

On Wednesday we had a pretty cool experience. So we had several lessons set up in the evening, including one with a Less-Active who was going to feed us. Well our first lesson fell through, and shortly after we receive a text from our Less- Active cancelling our lesson, and dinner. So we were stuck with over 2 hours of work left, half of our plans already used up, and no dinner. So before we even did anything else we said a prayer and asked for help to find at least 1 person to teach. We took off to try by some potentials and it just felt right that we should be there. So we started to just talk with everyone in sight. Well we found this one guy, Javier, and we started teaching him the Restoration. At first he was a little distracted, but as we started explaining more about the ministry of Jesus Christ and that He established His Church, his attention was refocused and he started listening more. We weren't able to teach about the First Vision, but we are hoping to find him soon in order to do so. It was a cool experience to see that God answered our prayer as we just lost ourselves to His will and plan.

So we had an interesting experience. So we are teaching english to the son of a less active member named Juan. Well at first we thought he was a member because he had come to church with his mom the past 2 weeks. Well we show up on Friday to teach him and he ask us if we could equal out the time to teach english and teach him about the church. Go to find out that he isn't a member, just his mother is. So we shared with him a bit of the Restoration and set up a return appointment for Tuesday to teach him more. So that was a pretty cool miracle.

Yesterday we went to the Departure Fireside for the Missionaries finishing up their mission. While we were there I saw la familia Berriel and had a good visit with the hermano, Alejandro. He has fallen away from the church a little bit because he was looking for hard facts to support the church. Well during Conference, he really felt the Spirit just testify to him that this is the true church and he broke down crying. He came to the conclusion that he isn't going to know everything, but what he felt is what he wants more than anything. He said he is going to start coming back and really build himself upon the Gospel. I was so, so, so happy to hear that. The rest of the family all looked super happy as well. Jazmin couldn't believe that they have been members for almost a year now. We are really praying that they get sealed either at the end of this month or next month. I told Elder Higley that if they get sealed after we return home, I am going to drop everything to be at their sealing. They are such a special family to me and I really hope that they continue to establish themselves on the Rock of Christ.

Well that is the summary for the week. This is the last 6 weeks of my mission. Right now I am imagining myself starting the last 400 meters of the 1600 meter race. I know that there is still enough time to finish strong, and I will finish it off strong. I love this work and want to leave it stronger than I found it. I am super excited for the challenges and experiences that are ahead these next 6 weeks. The Lord has placed in our path amazing people that He has prepared to receive his Gospel. Now it is our responsibility to help them know for themselves that this is true. I love my Savior and I am so grateful to be His personal representative.

I love you all. Hope you all had a good Easter Weekend. Remember: HE LIVES! If you haven't watch the video Because He Lives and you will come closer to Him, I promise you. Look to Him in ALL things, doubt not, fear not. I know He lives and because He lives, He can provide to us the light to return to Him and our Loving Heavenly Father.

Have a good week!
Elder Roberts

Monday, March 30, 2015

March 30, 2015

Hi Everyone,

Wow I can't believe it! You guys went to Zion's National Park without ME?? Not only that, but you hiked Angels Landing without ME??? Man I am disappointed.... I believe it was me who was begging to go to Zions and we never did. Thanks for the photos though, it looks like it was a fun trip. Maybe I should just beg more when I get home and maybe we will go ;P

Well the good thing about Temple P-days is that the next p-day just comes that much faster. I actually can't believe how fast this week went by and we are now starting the last week of the transfer. So that just means this week will fly by that much faster. I guess that means we should just buckle down even harder and finish off the transfer strong.

So some updates on Eduarda and her daughters. We were able to teach her once this week mostly just to follow up with her reading and making sure she can come to church. Right now she is in Omni and just loves what she is reading. She expressed how she usually reads when she gets home from work and that can be pretty hard, but she said she always find some sort of strength to read. She wasn't able to come to church this week because she had to work which lead her daughters not wanting to go alone. But we are hoping to get them to mutual on Tuesday so that we can teach them all again. So little by little things are going good with them.

One highlight of the week was with our investigator Maria. She has never attended a sacrament meeting, or even seen our chapels. We mentioned to her that we could do a church tour with her and show her which really got her excited. On the day we set the church tour she got sick and couldn't come, this was last week. However, on Tuesday she called us and asked if she could go see the chapel. So we booked it to the building and she was waiting for us. We had an awesome church tour and she really liked the main chapel where we hold Sacrament meeting. As we were leaving she said she would come no matter what. Well on Sunday we were looking for her and we just couldn't find her. Just as I was about to call her, we saw her sitting with two other sisters talking.The members did such an awesome job fellowshipping her that we almost didn't see her. She really liked the meeting and we will follow up with her on Tuesday. So that was an awesome miracle to have had.

On Thursday we had a really good lesson with our investigator Cecilia. We found her earlier this transfer and just hadn't had a lot of luck finding her again. Well on Thursday we decided that if we didn't find her we were probably going to stop going by. As we pulled into the cult de sac she saw us and was waiting for us to grab our bags. We had a short 15 minute lesson with her about the Restoration and things just seemed to click with her. When we asked her to pray and ask if it was true, she said that she felt it was true and had received an answer. We were pretty shocked to hear that and just left her with the invite to go to church. She didn't come this week because she had another commitment on Sunday. But she said we could come back to teach more and that she will try to go to church this week. So that was awesome to see how the Spirit just testified to her that these things were true.

On Saturday I did my last exchange with Elder Rebolloso. It wasn't the must successful exchange because of some bike repairs, not with my bike just a flat tire in Elder Obray's bike. So that took some time and it kinda got me discouraged because we had to take time to get it fixed instead of working. However, Elder Rebolloso really showed me that no matter the situation you just dig in hard and finish things as strong as you can. By the end of the exchange we had talked to over 15 people and invited them to learn more about the gospel, and we almost set a baptismal date with one of our investigators. So it was a pretty good exchange, I loved working with Elder Rebolloso he is such a hard working Elder and will see many miracles in his mission.

Well that is an update for what is happening here in the Great California Long Beach Mission. Like I said this is the last week of the transfer which is kind of scaring me knowing that my last transfer is just around the corner. But I am excited for the challenges that will come these next 7 weeks. I am so grateful to be working in this area with such great elders around me. We are truly having great success and it is exciting to see. There definitely is no excuse to slack off and coast to the end. We are going into that last 500 meters of the race, time to dig in and finish off with a hard sprint to the end.

Thanks for everything you guys do. Hope you all have a good week! Te Quiero mucho!!

Elder Roberts

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March 24, 2015

Well hello everyone,

Ok so if you didn't see why I am emailing on Tuesday is because we went to the temple today so we changed our P-day. If you haven't already, check out the photos from our temple trip they are pretty good. Me and mijo definitely tried to look good looking for y'all along with our "Gringo Thug" picture :)

I sure hope Mom is feeling better from her cold. Elder Obray got a pretty nasty cold when he first got here, then he got feeling better, and then got sick again due to the crazy California weather here. Plus one of our investigators got sick with Bronchitis and has been coughing up a lung, according to her words. So things are definitely getting crazy all over so do the basic to avoid getting sick. Things should start warming up here again so that will be exciting.

Thanks for the update for USU Track. Those are some pretty fast times so I am excited to get back and see what I can do. Looks like they are already looking strong going into the outdoor season. I can't believe how close they were to us. Irvine in about a 10 minute drive outside of our mission. Good thing I didn't know or else I might have taken a little road trip ;P I am kidding that would be a serious apostate decision.

Well things are going well for us here in the great California Long Beach Mission. We just finished up week 4 of this transfer so time is definitely flying by. We had a good rewarding week I won't lie. Looking back I can't see anything that I did personally, everything was a miracle and blessing from our Heavenly Father.

So update on Eduarda. We weren't able to teach her on Tuesday as usual because I got lazy and assumed that Mutual would be at the church, but it wasn't. Plus she wasn't able to come to church on Sunday because her daughter, Angie, had a bad sore throat and had to go to the doctor. However we were able to visit with her Sunday night mostly to follow up with some commitments we had left her. She has been reading a lot in the Book of Mormon, like A LOT. She was halfway through with Enos and we finished that up with her during our visit. Not only is she reading, but she is marking and highlighting verses that stick out to her. Yeah I have never had an investigator that has done that. Plus her daughters were really excited to see us when we came by. So there are several changes to this family's life and they are recognizing it. Such a great example of obedience and gratitude to me.

This week we found 3 new investigators to begin teaching. One of them, se llama Rodger, really showed interest in what we share. So we found him looking for another potential and we just started talking about the family and the blessings God has for the family. Well he said he had to leave right then, but invited us back later that evening to talk more. So we showed up and we had an awesome visit. He expressed to us that the reason he let us come back was because he loves his family so much and really wants to learn how he can be with them forever. He recently lost his dad and he now feels the responsibility to take care of his family. So I was really humbled to see how God can lead us to his prepared children.

Another cool experience. So all day Saturday I was on exchanges with Elder Jenkins in my area. Going into Saturday we only had 1 set lesson at 11 which got cancelled. That night I remember just begging the Lord to help us have a successful exchange and meet our goals. The next day was probably one of the most perfect days on my mission. We were exactly obedient, we had perfect studies, and then we worked super hard that day. By the end of the exchange we had talked to 19 people, we found 2 new investigators, and we set up several return appointments for this week. I was so grateful that the Lord guided us in this exchange, after we did everything that we could. At that moment the scripture D&C 123:17 came to my mind and really changed my mindset for my mission.

One more cool experience. So on Sunday Elder Obray and I were trying by some members we didn't know and wanted to meet. Well we show up to this one house and it looks like it is abandoned, the lights weren't on, the grass hadn't been cut for a while, and just looked wrong. We knocked on the door and literally 5 seconds later we both say, "This doesn't feel right we need to go now." We followed that impression and left immediately. After driving away a bit, we stopped and since we both had the same impression about the house we decided to pray and ask God where He wanted us to go. We both got the impression to try by another Less-Active. We show up and he answers the door and we begin talking about goals that he has in life. He expressed his desire to learn English so that he can communicate better in his work. Well, we offered to teach him since the Church has a really good program to learn English. He got super excited and invited us back to teach him English.

From that experience, I learned a little bit better how the Spirit works with us, and within a companionship. Now that both Elder Obray and I know how it feels, we are definitely going to apply it more in our work so that we do His work His way.

Well sorry this email was so long, hopefully everyone is still awake. I will start wrapping things up. This week I learned just a little bit more about how God wants us to do His work. I learned that it is by us doing everything within our power that God will reveal His arm to us. I learned that the Spirit is the one who leads us to those who are prepared, and gives us the words to share with them. I learned that God's plan is perfect for us and it is a great blessing to know His plan. I am so grateful for all that happened this week.

Hope everyone has a good week! Trust in the Lord in all things and He will guide you in all things. I know that He loves us and that is why He is so involved in our life. He will guide us, He has promised us His Spirit to be with us and to guide us. Seek for that guidance and I promise you that you will find it.

Elder Roberts

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March 16, 2015

Well Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone had a good week! Things started to get a little toasty here in Huntington Beach and Westminister. After Thursday things started to get hot, like we hit the high 90's and in the evenings it is super humid so you still get a good sweat. But that is ok because with the success the Lord is giving is you focus on the things that are more important.

Well, I don't know what to write about. This week we had a lot of great opportunities to teach our investigators, we found a new investigator to start teaching, and we had 4 investigators come to church on Sunday. I guess I can give a little bit more details about these overviews.

So this week we had 4 of our investigators come to church. We had Angelica, who 3 of her children are baptized but only 1 is active and Angelica has know about the church for a while. She isn't baptized because she has a few doubts and she isn't married to the guy she is living with nor does he want to get married. But she has started making little changes to her life, such as read the scriptures and come to church, and she is starting to see a difference in her life. So that is her. Then we had Eduarda and her 2 daughters, Angie and Lizeth, come to church. We have been working hard with Angie and Lizeth to have them come, especially to the classes. At first they didn't because they don't like the first hour because it is boring. But we had some YW call them and invite them to come and stay for the classes. Well, by the end of the block, both were all smiles and really enjoyed it all. So that was a great first step for them and we are excited for them.

This week we had a great week of teaching our investigators. We have a great pool of investigators we are teaching and all have a great desire to come closer to Christ. We dropped several investigators to start this transfer, and our teaching pool isn't as big as it was when we started. However the quality of people we are teaching is alot better. We have Roxanna, who just wants a stronger relationship with God and for her son to know God. We found a new investigator, Javiera, who has fallen away from God due to other things, but now wants to come closer to Him in order to find the peace and happiness she sees in some of her friends at school who are members. So this week we have been able to accomplish many of our goals and have seen a lot of success from the Lord.

Well, things are going good with Elder Obray and I. With the heat and hard work, we have been trying to do everything possible to stay awake and have the energy to work hard. Elder Obray has started settling in to the missionary routine and is starting to get the hang of things. It is pretty different being a DL and trainer at the same time. But like I said 4 weeks ago, the Lord doesn't want me to slack off and I definitely have had no time to do so. If anything I have felt an urgency to just work hard and finish everything off as best as I can. So I couldn't have asked for a better way to finish my last two transfers.

Well that is pretty much everything. I hope everyone is having a good week and are ready for a new one. We are super excited for this week and can't wait to see what the Lord has prepared for us.

Elder Roberts

As promised here is a picture of mijo.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March 9, 2015

Hi everyone,

Well we had a very busy, successful week and I am glad today was P-Day. Like it says in the subject line this week was full of meetings which took up a lot of our work time. However, with the time we had to work, it was all full of success and being effective. I really feel like this week was a growing week for both my companion and I.

To start the week, I had leadership training on Tuesday with the other mission leaders. President gave the trainings about how to hold effective exchanges. It was actually really good because, like I said in past emails about exchanges, it helped me realize how important exchanges are and how to have effective exchanges. So this transfer I will have a better idea how to hold an effective exchange and learn with the other Elders in my district.

Thursday was our Zone Conference. As always the trainings were very good and I learned a lot while receiving personal revelation for the work in our area. Two trainings that stuck out to me:
1) Helping investigators progress by getting back to the basics. I realized that I have strayed a little bit away from the basic missionary skills, especially how to simply teach the Doctrine of Christ. So that was something that really stuck out to me.
2) Helping Investigators progress by helping them feel something. President Tew gave this training and reviewed ways that we can bring the Spirit into any lesson using simple methods such as using scriptures and testimony. It helped me realize that " small means the Lord can bring about great things' (1 Ne. 16:29). So this week we are hoping to put into practice the trainings we received and the guidance we received through personal revelation.

On Friday we had Zone Meeting. We talked a lot about specific plans we can do as a zone to help our investigators progress. We decided that we needed to involve the members more and gain more trust from them. We set some really good plans on how we can visit the members more effectively during dinner appointments, at church, or throughout the day. Our zone has been doing a lot of great things the past few months and it is really exciting. So this transfer we are super excited for what we can accomplish.

All day Saturday I was on exchanges with my Zone Leader, Elder Humphreys. We set some pretty solid goals to put into practice the plans we had set earlier in Zone Meeting. Then we just hit it hard and worked effectively and diligently. It was such a great exchange and we talked a lot about the goals we set and how the missionaries in our district can accomplish them. It felt good to just to just get out and hit it hard.

As a mission we are making some big strides and helping the work hasten. During Zone Conference President Tew shared some pretty impressive stats with us. The past 8 weeks, as a mission, we have taught over 1000 totals lessons with only 181 missionaries. We have never been able to accomplish that ever since President Tew begun his service as our mission president. It is impressive because we have the lowest number of missionaries ever in this mission and we are teaching and finding like crazy. Definitely a good indicator that the Lord is hastening His work in the Great California Long Beach Mission.

This week we had a pretty cool miracle with one of our investigators. Her name is Eduarda and she has been learning about the church for almost 5 years now. She knows the church is true and really wants to be baptized. However she is living with another guys to whom she isn't married. On Tuesday we had a lesson with her at the church and helped her understand more why she can't be baptized. She had one of those "Ah Ha" moments and said she is going to do everything possible to talk with the guy she is living with and see what he says. Wellon Wednesday we got a call from her saying she talked with the guy and she was asking us what she has to do get married. So she is starting to make those changes to get baptized which is awesome. We are hoping tomorrow we can have the bishop talk with her and help her as well.

So that was what happened this week. It was a good successful week even with all the meetings. Tomorrow Elder Obray and I have another training with the other new missionaries, then it should be home free of meetings this transfer. Even though I did realize that this Zone Conference might have been my last one which made me super sad. But now it is time to apply all the trainings I have received from the past Zone Conferences and work super hard.

Have a good week!!

Elder Roberts

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March 5, 2015

Hi Everyone,

Well I am sure that all of you guys are anxious for the details of my new companion, mi hijo. His name is Elder Obray, he is from North Ogden Utah, he graduated from Weber High School and graduated in 2014, he worked for 6 months saving up money for the mission. We actually are pretty similar in likes and we are getting along pretty well. His spanish is actually pretty good, but he is a little hesitant to speak it, so I have been trying hard to get him to speak the language more. It is only the first week of being in the field so he is still getting used to the routine of everything. But little by little he will adjust and be a great missionary.

There wasn't any other changes in our ward as far as missionary assignments. As for Elder Arias he is working in Long Beach East Stake which I think is right next to our stake. It was interesting going by members and our investigators and Elder Arias not being with me. But everyone was super nice and welcomed Elder Obray with open arms.

Sounds like USU had a great indoor season. I am shocked that Clay won the 800; if I remember correctly he has never ran the 800 until he started at USU, and now he is the Mountain West Champion. He is going to be a boss the next 3 years. Man just seeing the success just makes me want to get back into the action. Hopefully that will be an option.

Well as for what happened this week. It wasn't a picture perfect week, but it was a learning week. We ended up dropping several of our investigators this week because they were just too hard to find and weren't keeping their commitments. So we decided it was better to drop them and look for more people. We were able to find 3 new investigators this week which helped out, including possibly a family to teach. So the Lord definitely is helping us out to find new people and help them come closer to Him. So this week is going to be a week of finding, talking to everyone, and helping our current investigators progress. It is going to be interesting because this week is full of meetings: Tomorrow I have Leadership Training until 4, Thursday we have Zone Conference, and Friday we have Zone Meeting. But it will be a good week of diligence and hard work.

Actually I am really excited for what is going to happen this week. Yesterday during my personal study I finished my Book of Mormon study of Christ-like Attributes. One that stuck out to me, and I really applied to myself, was in Moroni 9. Mormon is encouraging his son, Moroni, to remain diligent in his calling to spread the Gospel. We know up to this point that the Nephites had fallen away from the Gospel and any attempts to teach them the Gospel had no effect. But, as I read verse 6 it clicked to me that this verse applied to where we were in our personal efforts to share the Gospel to those in our area. So it got me thinking that Mormon is talking to me personally to not give up, no matter how many times we get rejected or the number of investigators we dropped last week. He remained faithful until the end, so why should I give in and coast to the end? Just something that got me thinking and got me excited for this week.

Well those are the highlights for the week. Like I said this was a learning week for me and my companion. But I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and see what are the limits I can reach these last few months. For how fast February flew by, I am really scared for how fast March and April will go by. I know that mom is freaking out due to the fact that she received an email for my travel itinerary. But there still is enough time to labor hard here in the California Long Beach Mission.

Love you all! Have a good week!

Elder Roberts

I apologize because I don't have a picture of my son. But I will get one next week. BYE!!

Monday, February 23, 2015

February 23, 2015 - It's a Baby Elder!!

Hello Everyone,

Who is confused with the subject line? Haha or I guess better question, who understands it?? Well I guess I better get to that piece of detail before moving into the rest of the email. We finished up this transfer yesterday. On Wednesday we get a call from the Assistants as we were walking into our apartment. They extended to me the call to TRAIN! Yep I am going to have a hijo (son). I guess the Lord doesn't want me slacking off my last 3 months in the mission so he is going to send me a brand new missionary. Plus I am still a District Leader so not only do I have the responsibility to train a new missionary but also to continue serving the other missionaries in my district. So ya these last 3 months are going to be full of learning opportunities and alot of fun. Here we have a name for Elders who train a new missionary their last 2 transfers, Trunky Train. Maybe Dad, or Jordin, or Steve can help ya'll out with this term.

So with me training a new missionary that means that Elder Arias' time in Bolsa Chica has come to an end. He got transferred to Long Beach and is going to serve in a Branch, Ximeno. It was a fun transfer working with him and helping our investigators progress more and more. He is pretty sad to leave since he has been here for about 8 months, but he is excited to go to Long Beach and work there. He is definitely going to be missed here.

Well to answer Mom's questions about missionaries returning to their "Greenie area." Here it isn't to common to return to the exact same area, but it is fairly common to return to the same ward were you had served in the past. I can think of several missionaries who did return to the same ward, but served in a different area within the ward. So I guess it is sorta common but probably just here because our mission is so small, especially since there are only 6 spanish wards/branches that we can serve in.

So ya it was a pretty crazy last few days here in Bolsa Chica "A." The rest of the week was pretty successful and we definitely finished off the transfer strong. We just seemed to be hitting the little small details of missionary work right on the dot and it just brought even more success and miracles. Definitely something I want to keep going into this new transfer.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I did my last exchange with my Zone Leaders. I stayed in my area and had Elder Jenkins come with me to work. He was in this area the transfer before I got here so he was familiar with everything and he just settled right into working hard. We had a super fun exchange and had alot of success as well. He also is a big fan of Star Wars so we spent most of our time talking about the movies, books, and video games. We did work hard, don't get the wrong image of two Elders only talking about Star Wars for 24 hours. We actually had a really good lesson with one of our current investigators, Eduarda, and her daughters, Angie and Lizeth. Eduarda wants her daughters to learn about the Gospel so she invited us over to talk about the different organizations of the church such as Young Women and Primary. Both of the daughters got interested in these activities and wanted to participate as well. Then the topic got switched to baptism and we started talking about that. I was a little hesistant about talking about it with them, but Elder Jenkins did an awesome job of teaching simply and helping them see the need to be baptized. It was a really good lesson and both said they would get baptized if they knew it was true. That was a big miracle and we hope to help them receive that answer in order to take that step of baptism.

Yesterday we had our Ward Conference and it was top notch. There actually was a cool experience that happened that hit me the most and got me thinking. So our Stake President serve his mission in the states but learned Spanish. However he hasn't been able to practice alot so his ability to speak it has gone down a bit. For most of his talk he spoke in English and it was translated to Spanish. However, as he was nearning the end of his talk, he paused and then started to bear his testimony is spanish. It was probably some of the most clearest and understandable spanish I have ever heard from a Stake President my entire mission. As he was bearing his testimony the Spirit was so strong and I knew that he had been called of God to serve the members of this stake.

Well that is what happened this week. Another transfer has begun, and like I said earlier it is going to be a learning one. I have been trying to remember the things that my trainer did to help me adjust to the mission and what I can apply as well. I really hope that I can be the missionary that the Lord can guide to help this new missionary adjust to the mission and his purpose to help others come unto Christ.

Les Quiero Mucho! Espero que todos tengan una buena semana!

Elder Roberts

Foto 1
These are the Elders in my District. We all are serving in the Bolsa Chica Ward. From left to right

Jenkins, Higley, Rebolloso, Arias, and Humphreys

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February 16, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I apologize right now because this email is going to super short due to two reasons:

1) It is a holiday and we are on a strict email schedule

2) I was kinda stressing about housing and spent most of my time communicating with my parents to get me applied for that.

So I apologize for the short email. Next week will be a lot better because we will have the libraries back open.

I hope everyone had a really good Valentines Day. It was pretty chilled here in California. Every member was out doing something with their spouse so we struggled getting members out with us that night. Thanks mom and dad for the package. I actually did receive it before Valentines day because I had an interview with President Tew and I was able to pick it up. Thanks for the card, I love it and have it hanging up on my wall.

This week we were able to help one of our investigators understand the gospel a little bit better. Her name is Eduarda, she has learned about the Gospel for a long time and knows the church is true. However, she is living with another guy who doesn't want to get married nor talk with us. But we had a really good lesson with her in the church about keeping the Sabbath Day holy. She really felt the spirit and committed right there to attend church every week. She really wants to be baptized, so hopefully she is willing to act on what she felt during that lesson. Plus she said her daughters are starting to show a little bit of desire to learn, so hopefully we will be able to pick them up.

We were really able to apply the Mission Culture. We taught every night, we found this week, and had someone to church. It felt really good to achieve the Mission Culture, and now this week we really hope to build upon it.
We are starting the last week of this transfer this week. I am assuming that I will get a new companion because my current companion has been here for 5 transfers. We will find out on Saturday night. So we are really going to focus hard this week to finish this transfer off strong.
Sorry I have to finish up. Hope everyone has a good week. Also fyi la familia Sobrinho invited my companion and I to come visit them this week! I am pretty excited to see them again.
Love you all,
Elder Roberts

February 9, 2014

Hey Everyone,

Well, here we are to start another week. Like mom said in her email, this week just flew by that looking back it is kinda hard to see what we accomplished. This week was full of good things that it felt like we were running from one thing to the next.So where to begin, I don't know but here goes.

On Tuesday we did exchanges with two Elders in our District, Elder Higley and Elder Rebolloso. This exchange was a little different from regular exchanges where one companion will leave his area and go to the other area. Instead both Elders came to our area and we did our exchange that way. I worked with Elder Rebolloso (pronounced Re-bo-yo-so). He is a brand new Elder with about 2 months in the mission, this is his first transfer in the field. He is from Mexico but moved to the US when he was 6 years old. We had a good time together. We had alot of success in teaching and finding. It is a little different, I realized, being on the DL side of exchanges. In the past, I would just do the regular missionary stuff and not think too much about exchanges. But now, after this past exchange, I realized how the exchange is used to train and learn. Especially as a District Leader it all starts with that first example from the leader. So I am kinda kicking myself for not recognizing that until now. But now I have a good idea what to look for the next time I do exchanges.

We had a bit of a sad experience on Wednesday. I don't know if you all remember Diana and Aurelio? Well we taught them again on Wednesday but the lesson didn't go how we thought it was going to go. We showed up they told us they didn't want to keep learning. I was kinda surprised why because the past lessons we had with them were really spiritual and I know they could feel the Spirit. But they said that they feel by learning about the church it is going to create conflict within their family, not between them but the rest of their family that don't live with them. They don't want that conflict and feel that by staying Catholic they will be able to avoid that conflict. Well it really made me sad that they don't want to keep learning due to other people's opinion. It made me think about Elder Lynn's talk in the most recent General Conference about which way do we face. Well there really wasn't much we could do so we left it at that. It was a difficult experience for me mostly because I know they could feel a difference, I know that the Spirit testified to them this is true. So hopefully in the future they will remember those feelings and have that desire to have them again.

The rest of this week went by pretty smooth. We were busy finding new investigators, helping our current investigators progress towards conversion, and just enjoying life as a missionary. We were able to find 2 new investigators this week, but haven't been able to follow up with them recently. We were able to get members out with us more this week and they all helped out a ton with the lessons they came with us to. We had a member come with us to teach our two investigators with baptismal dates and that was a really good lesson. We taught about reading the scriptures daily and learning from them. The member who came with us bore a super powerful testimony about how the scriptures have helped her throughout her life and the Spirit was super strong at that moment. So strong that both our two investigators got more excited to read them. So far they haven't missed a day of reading since we taught them on Friday.

This really strengthened my testimony on the role of members. Alot of times people see us missionaries as super dedicated people to the gospel and that is everything for us. That is true, but sometimes I feel that as we teach people and commit them to do some thing, it doesn't really stick. But as we take members out with us and they share their experiences, it seems to stick. I don't know if it is because those we teach see the members as regular people that they can relate to, but I know that members have the abilitly to help others come closer to our Savior just as well as missionaries. So I invite all of you guys, if you haven't gone out with the missionaries recently, call them up and go with them. You never know who the Lord will be preparing to hear your personal testimony.

Well that is pretty much the week in a nutshell. This transfer is flying by so fast it isn't fair. We are starting week 5 which basically means that next week the transfer is over. But we are going to work every possible time left of this transfer to death. There are people waiting to come closer to our Savior. Better now than later, Right?

Love you all,

Elder Roberts

Monday, February 2, 2015

February 2, 2015

Hi everyone,

Wow, ok I guess January didn't want to stick around at all and has left the stadium. I agree with everyone else, it feels like Christmas was just a couple days ago but now we are starting February. Here we are starting week 4 of this transfer and we are all kinda wondering what happened with this transfer. But, like I have said in the past, there really isn't anything we can do about time with the exception of taking advantage of every opportunity.

So first to answer some of Mom's questions about leadership in the mission. DL= District Leader, ZL= Zone Leader, and STL= Sister Training Leader. In this mission there are only 6 STL's that help out the sisters better than we Elders can do. The week after transfers happen, President does a Leadership training for all the leadership in the mission. Mostly to help us know how we can better serve those in our district/zone, and what to focus on this transfer such as teaching, finding, or so forth. So when I say Mission Culture I am focusing on 3 things President Tew wants us to focus on:
1)Teach Every Night
2)Find Every Week
3)Bring someone to church every week

As leaders, we have the responsibility to apply these principles into our area. Then during exchanges we can help those other missionaries see the blessings that come from it and help them apply the same principles into their own area. I have really seen this help me focus on my purpose as a missionary. As we find every week, we have more people to invite to come to Christ. As we teach every night, we help those we find learn the doctrine, fulfill with commitments, and recognize the fruits of the Spirit. Then as they come to church every week, they come to know this is the true church restored to the earth and leads to conversion. So these 3 basic principles really help us focus on our purpose and those we are teaching.

Ok so what happened this week for us. It was a good week, but we really had to dig deep to accomplish our goals. This week, it just seemed that every member we invited to go out with us cancelled 1 hour before we met up with them. It was definitely a struggle to not get frustrated, but we still had a really good week. We were able to teach several of our investigators, and help them continue to progress in the Gospel. This week we were able to commit 2 investigators to baptism for March 8. Their names are Elly and Araceli (pronounced Araseli). They both are super solid and have great desires to know more about the Gospel and what the Bible teaches. The challenge with them is getting them to church and Youth activities. But we have some solid plans to help them get more involved in the Gospel.

So that really was the highlight of the week. We were able to find several of our investigators and help them. This week is going to be full of finding. We dropped a couple investigators this past week and we didn't find new investigators this week. But we have been receiving several referrals from other missionaries so we have a good list of people to go by. I know that the Lord will help us find His prepared children and He will give us what we need in order to help them come closer to Him.

I hope everything is going well for everyone back home. Hopefully you all are avoiding the sickness going around. Several of our investigators and members have been sick with the flu and the cold. Needless to say I bought alot of oranges and orange juice this week so I don't get sick as well. But things are starting to warm up here so maybe not as many people will get sick. I feel like this month is going to fly by so this is the time to buckle down and help those who God puts in our path receive the Gospel. This is going to be a fun week and I really hope that we will be able to fulfill with the vision our Mission President has established for us.


Elder Roberts

Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 26, 2015

Buenas Tardes todos,

Wow another week has just flown by and it was a very successful week. I don't even know where to begin describing what happened this week. I will say that the subject for this email hits everything on the button. So ya I will try to describe how things went this week.

Since I am a District Leader, on Tuesday I had a training with the other DL's, ZL's and STL's in the mission. President Tew, Sister Tew, and the Assistants gave us some awesome trainings on Leadership skills, our Mission Culture, and establishing that culture within our companionship and those in our District/Zone. As always, the trainings were top notch and I learned alot. First off, I learned that in order for success to happen within a District, it must start with it's leader. This is something that really hit me hard and made me think how I can be that example to those in my district. Such a simple principle, but one that can really help the work progress in our areas. I really started to see how the Mission Culture that President Tew has established really does help us focus on our purpose and those we teach. So after that meeting I was determined to establish the Mission Culture just a little bit more in our area. It was a great time to receive instruction from President Tew as well as personal revelation.

The other main highlight of the week was a visit from a General Authority. I know you all are thinking, "Again? They just had one visit them." We were surprised by this visit as well. We found out a week before he came to visit our mission. We had Elder Rasband of the Presidency of the 70 visit our mission on Saturday. From the 4 General Authority Visits to our mission, I think this was was one of my favorites. Elder Rasband talked to us about our call as missionaries and shared some experiences from his service as a missionary and a mission president. The thing that really stuck with me was when Elder Rasband reaffirmed to us that our call isn't random, but really a specific call to us from our Heavenly Father through His chosen servants. I can't describe how I felt when we testified to us about this principle, but I can say that it really strengthened my faith in God and this great work that is happening in the world. Such a great visit!

The rest of the week was full of finding and teaching opportunities. We found 5 new investigators this week which was awesome, I can't remember the last time the Lord guided us to 5 new people to teach. We had an interesting experience with two of these new investigators, Aurelio and Diana. They were referrals from some other missionaries asking us to come say a prayer at their house. So we went over last Monday and they started describing some crazy things that I have never heard of on my mission. They said that their house was cursed and that their neighbor is doing satanic things. Well all we did at that point was say a prayer and set up a return appointment later in the week. We went back on Friday to teach them about the Restoration. It was a little hard to keep them focus on our message, but as we kept promising them peace by applying what we shared, they stayed focused. Afterwords we said a prayer with them in their house and dedicated it. Afterwords, Aurelio said, "Wow, I feel alot more peaceful and more protected. I feel like you guys have something that will help us." That was such an awesome experience about prayer and my desire to share more with this family increased tremendously.

That was probably one of the greatest finding moments on my mission. Just another testimony about the power of prayer and the peace that Jesus Christ promises us as we turn to Him and His Doctrine. I know that my love for the Gospel increased and my testimony that Christ does promise us peace and protection, as we follow His teachings, increased. I love helping people find that peace through the Gospel. After that experience we started promising people more peace and it lead to finding two more people. I know that peace is one of the greatest gifts we can receive from Christ.

Well that is the update for this week. A lot happened and every night I just kept coming home more and more tired. However, every morning I just seem to be waking up with more and more strength to keep going out to do the Lord's work. I know that this is His work on the Earth. I can't explain how grateful I am for this opportunity to help others come closer to Him. I know that He is working miracles for us everyday and we get the opportunity to see these miracles work in those we teach. As time continues to fly by, it seems like every opportunity becomes more and more desperate to help others receive the Gospel. His work is hastening! Catch the Wave!

Love you all! Hope you have a good week!

Elder Roberts

Friday, January 23, 2015

January 19, 2015

Hi Everyone,

No I am not home, don't be fooled by the subject. But after week 1 back in my greenie area, it really did feel like I was back home. First to answer some of Mom and Dad's questions. The mission changed the areas for the spanish missionaries in this ward. However, the majority of my area is the same, there are only a few parts of the stake that I don't have now but I did have before. Unfortunately, la familia Sobrinho aren't in my area. So I am going to see if I can do exchanges with the ZL's one day and go visit them. I live in the same apartment complex, but a different apartment because our old one had mold, Yay... Our area literally covers over 2/3 of the stake, so we have a car and mostly drive around. I might see if we could bike one day just to see how out of shape I am from my greenie days.

Sunday was an awesome experience. I was surprised how many members actually did remember me. In Priesthood, they were introducing the new missionaries in the ward and they got to me. I said "I am not new to the ward, I was just inactive for a time." Haha I got a couple laughs and then I introduced myself. It was awesome to be back in this ward, there has been alot of growth in this ward and I hope to be able to keep it growing in a positive way.

So about Elder Arias... He is from Utah, but was born in Peru and lived there until he was 6 years old. He has been out for about 10 months now and has really grown since our days in Cerritos. I love working with him and we are having a blast together.

Well, like I said it was an awesome experience being back here in Bolsa Chica. There were immediately flashbacks to when I was first here and how much I loved this area. From Elder Kunz and I competing to win the chocolate milk to finding awesome people to teach. Our teaching pool right now is actually really good. We have several people who are progressing super well towards baptism. This past week we focused mostly on finding them and introducing myself to them. This week we are going to focus on the little things to help them receive an answer that these things are true. Plus we are teaching a guy how to read and write spanish. He grew up on a ranch and didn't go to school to read or write. So now we get to do so, and it is kinda hard I won't lie. Basically I am trying to remember how I was taught Spanish in the MTC so I can help this guy out. Kinda cool, and crazy at the same time.

First week as a DL was pretty good. Really the only big thing was conducting District meeting on Thursday. The mission creates outlines for these trainings and I didn't get mine until Wednesday night. Thankfully it was a topic I was familiar with and I spent Thursday during personal study to prep. Well we show up to the church and we are about to start until the Assistants to the President showed up. Yeah plus there are only 2 districts in the zone, so I was going to have one of the Assistants in my district along with a ZL. Well that just added to the stress of giving my first training. But we had a good discussion on teaching everynight and how we can do better at doing so. So ya that was fun, hopefully this next District meeting goes a little bit smoother. This week week I will start getting exchanges done.

Well that is most of the updates for now. I have to run because we are on a tight email schedule. Next week I will give a bit more details about everything. Have a good week!

Elder Roberts

This is Rosie, she was one of our investigators in Long Beach

On the left is one of our Investigators Mireya and her daughter Heidi. On the right is a member and her daughter, hna. Rodriguez and Natalia

La familia Paz. Members who lived in our area. Super bomb family

La familia Paz tambien. There are the parents to the guy in the first picture in this email.

These two hooligans are Elder Christensen (Left) and Elder Petersen. We did a lot of things together in Long Beach and they helped me visit people my last night in Long Beach.

Monday, January 12, 2015

January 12, 2015 - I am going home!

Hi Everyone,

Now before everyone starts freaking out, no I am not returning back to Utah. I still have 3 transfers left, not a whole lot but enough to keep working here in the great California Long Beach Mission. So everyone can calm down and can read this email with more peace.

I am just going to get right to the details. We are starting a new transfer tomorrow (Jan. 13). However, I will not be working in Long Beach anymore and I will not be a regular missionary. I am going back to the first ward I served in, Bolsa Chica, and I will be a District Leader there. So ya there was quite a bit of changes this transfer and I am not 100% sure how I feel right now. It still hasn't hit me yet, but I am sure that tomorrow things will start to become more real. I feel excited because I am going back to where I started, sad because I am leaving another ward and members that I love, and nervous because of the opportunity to serve as a DL. But things will be all right I guess.

Ok so now that I got that piece of detail out of the way, time to explain what else happened this week. This week was amazing and chuck full of miracles. It started off on Monday with a Family Home Evening with one of our investigators in the house of a member. We had a really good lesson about the family and how to establish the family in the Gospel. On Tuesday and Wednesday we found a family to start teaching. It is a mother, Leilani, and her two daughters, Gaby and Jeanette. We had a really good lesson with them about the Restoration and how to find more peace and guidance for the family. In fact, Leilani express her desire for her family to become more involved with church, but hasn't found one that she likes and feels comfortable with. After we taught her the Restoration, she really liked what we taught and wanted to learn more. Such a cool miracle from God to help us find His children in need. On Thursday we found another girl, Jazmin, who is in High School and feels a lot of pressure and stress from her classes and all the walks of life. So we taught her about prayer and how she can find more peace by talking with her Heavenly Father. She really liked it and was excited to start praying.

On Saturday we had a huge miracle. So we are teaching an investigator named Julio. He is actually really solid and loves learning about the church. He comes every week, he reads the Book of Mormon as well as the manuals for the classes, and has grown a lot. However, whenever we tried committing him to baptism he wouldn't and said he would let us know when. Well we decided to re-teach the Restoration and see if we could find what his doubt was. To be completely honest, I thought it would be a doubt about the doctrine. However, as we got near to the end, we started bearing our testimony about the Restoration and invited Julio to pray specifically if these things are true. His response "I feel this is good, and I love learning about the Gospel, but I can't fully commit myself to one church." Well at that moment I felt impressed to pause and ask a question, but I didn't know what. After a couple seconds of silence I asked "Why can't you commit yourself to this church?" His answer "My wife doesn't want me to, she is fine with me learning but doesn't want me to fully commit to this church or any other church." At that point, everything change and we committed Julio to follow the example of Alma the Elder and pray for his wife to open up to the Gospel and learn why he wants to commit to this church.

Wow all I can say is that lesson was a huge miracle. The past 3 transfers I could not figure out why Julio wouldn't commit to baptism and I was kinda frustrated. But as I was talking with Elder Petersen, he told of an experience where the same thing happened as he re-taught the Restoration. So we decided to do so, but really follow the Spirit and teach it powerfully. And because the Spirit was there, Julio expressed his concern and now we can help him more effectively to progress towards baptism. He is such a cool guy and I really pray that his wife will be open to learning about the Gospel and let him take that step of faith in his life. The first picture is of him and I after church.

So those were some of the miracles we had in our area. I don't know what we did differently, but the work has really progressed in our area and I am super excited for those the Lord has placed in our path to come closer to him. I feel like this week I had a lot more faith in our Heavenly Father to lead us to to His children waiting to receive the Gospel. I am sad to have to leave these people, but I know that they will be guided by Him to receive the Gospel and take the necessary steps to come closer to Him.

So to answer a couple questions before I finish up. Yes, Dad did talk to a member in our ward, Cruz Garcia. She helped me out to get money for a new running watch I got from another missionary. She said she was pretty nervous to call, but it sounds like it was a good chat. She told me that she told Dad that he could call anytime. I think it would be good to call, but talk with her husband, hermano Garcia. He is from Honduras and his spanish is super clear and anyone could understand him. So it would be good practice for dad :) The second picture is of la familia Garcia.
This week was kinda interesting weather wise. So to start the week it warmed up quite a bit. We were in the high 80's to low 90s and it felt great. However, it didn't last. Friday it cooled down a bit, and all day Saturday it was raining, and it rained super hard. Then Sunday was just wet and cold as well. Like mom said in her email, these members just don't understand that I like to be warm and wear less layers, so they always ask why I don't wear a sweater. Haha silly mexicanos, no conocen los hueros de Utah.

Well that pretty much is all the updates. Like I said, I am sad to be leaving this area and all the people I have met here the past 4 months. But I am excited to return to my first ward. Who knows, maybe I can help la familia Sobrinho come back to church again. I don't know what the Lord has planned for me in Bolsa Chica, especially as a District Leader, but I am excited for this time learn and grow to help His work progress in this part of his vineyard.

Love you all! Next email will be coming from sunny Huntington Beach!

Elder Roberts

Here are a few more pictures I took after church with some members.

La Familia Lopez. They didn't live in my area, but we always ate with them at least 4 times a month. They are an awesome family and she makes some really good food.

La familia Cedillo. The hermano is our Ward Mission Leader

Elder Petersen. My fellow Cache Valleyite. We served together in the same ward a total of 3 transfers, 2 in Cerritos and 1 here in Long Beach. I love this kid.

Elder Whetten. Man this kid is an amazing missionary. We served in the same ward here in Long Beach for 3 transfers and he was with our DL so we did exchanges together. I love this kid!

Elder Beck, my former Companion. Well he is going home tomorrow, so I thought I would grab one more picture with him. I love this kid.