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