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.

Monday, January 5, 2015

January 5, 2015

Happy New Year!! Feliz Ano Nuevo!!

Wow, raise your hand if 2014 passed by super fast. My hand is raised so high that it is touching the ceiling. The thought of 2015 has always been in the back of my mind ever since we started 2014, but now it is in full board since we have started the new year. To be honest, it doesn't feel like it was that long when I went with Elder Awerkamp to his area in Whittier and we tore it up there. Now a year later, Elder Brown and I are tearing it up here in Long Beach. The mission is amazing and I am loving every single moment to help others feel of our Savior's love for them.

Sounds like you all had an exciting New Years Eve and the days following it. I am guessing that Dad partied too much and had a bit of a hangover the following day :P Things were pretty chill here in Long Beach during New Years Eve. It was a regular work day for us that day, but we found almost nobody home. Plus I was kinda nervous because it is Long Beach and New Years Eve. But our neighbors were sure to help us welcome in the new year at midnight with airhorns, fireworks and vulgar language. So ya Happy New Year!!

So we had a really good week this week. Last Monday until Tuesday we did exchanges with our DL but it was a little different. So the First Presidency has changed up how we do exchanges in the mission and instead of just switching and still working in the two areas, both companionships will work in one area, most likely the DL's area. But instead we did it the other way were our DL and his comp came to our area to help us out. To be honest, I didn't have the greatest attitude towards it because I wasn't sure that we would have enough plans to do. But it actually turned out to be a really good exchange. We found like crazy and I had a blast with Elder Whetten, our DL's companion. We kept saying that we are going to go whitewash an area in Whittier.

This week was a really good finding week. We found 2 new investigators that are super solid, plus we found some solid potentials and have return appointments with them later this week. I definitely noticed a difference in the way we were working. It started with Elder Whetten and I talking with almost everyone. I really learned from Elder Whetten how to be brief and powerful with people. That experience carried into the rest of the week and we just found alot more people to teach. Such a cool miracle to see how the example of other missionaries can help others, and how talking with everyone can really help you find new people.

So ya that was mostly what happened this week. Yesterday we had church at a bright and early 8:00 am starting with Sacrament meeting followed by the classes. I was actually surprised because alot of the members were 5 minutes early and we only started 5 minutes late because we were waiting for the sacrament to get set up. I think more members were more awake than I was because I was pretty exhausted during the entire block. So hopefully a couple more sundays of this schedule I will be able to adjust to the schedule.

Well, that pretty much is everything. Thanks for the updates! Elder Petersen and I are pretty excited that there will be a new mission in Logan. Maybe there will be more Spanish missionaries so that I can go on splits with them and keep my spanish up to date. I really hope you all have a great 2015!


Elder Roberts

P.S. How did everyone do with the Book of Mormon challenge? I finished it right on the 31st of December and loved every minute of it. Right now I have started over and am now looking for Christ-like Attributes while using the study guide I got for Christmas.