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!