Elder Roberts- May 23 to June 20, 2016

May 23, 2016
Good week! I’m really really tired today because we’ve been running around doing errands, so I’m not going to write too much. Daisy got baptized! It was a really special baptismal service! The other two companionships in our district had baptisms as well, so we combined the service. It was a really special moment for everyone. Ordinances are so powerful and I felt the spirit so beautifully and specially. It was great.
Also, umm.. what else happened. Ahh! We taught the 3rd hour yesterday because the EQP wasn’t there. He put the bishop in charge, and the bishop was so busy he told us, as he ran out of the room “Teach whatever you want” so we explained the plan of salvation and applied it to family history and why it was so important. Then we did a little math on the board and explained, based on numbers, how necessary it was to go to the temple at least once a month.
But it was a wonderful week! I love my companion.
Elder Roberts

June 6, 2016
This week was a good week. I got a tad sick because some stuff that I ate didn’t fall very well with my stomach…
I will write about two of our investigators:
1. Francisco
This man is awesome. He was very very worldly before he started talking to us, but he has a real desire to change and he shows it. His biggest challenge is the Word of Wisdom. He’s very spontaneous it’s really funny. One night he was driving us home after a lesson and he showed us how he kept an unlighted cigarrette in his car to help him…like he would stick it in his mouth but not smoke it, just to help with his nerves. And he asked “is this bad?” and then immediately threw it out of his car. That little story kinda defines how he is. He owns lots of businesses, so he had a hard time with the sabbath day. the 1st sunday he went, he had to leave after the first hour to cover one of his stores, and he said “but don’t worry, I’m going to change the hours of my employees so they will work sundays instead of me”. Elder Webb and I just kinda laughed and thought “Well teach him about the sabbath in the next lesson” haha.
2. Erma
Now this lady is one of the most unique cases I’ve ever had in my mission. She’s a doctor and is very, very smart. Her husband is a member, and they’ve been married 2 years. SHES NEVER TALKED TO MISSIONARIES BEFORE. For 2 years!! Her husband, Efrain, is actually very active which is also strange. He told us that he has been preparing her for the last 2 years to listen to the missionaries since her family and her are very catholic. The weirdest part is that he has taught her pretty much every restored truth of the gospel except the actual restoration. For example, she believes that God has a body of flesh and bone, and he is not the same being as Christ, but she doesn’t really know how we know that! So it’s a weird dynamic. She went to church on sunday and liked it, we will see how this all plays out.
All is well!! Love you!
Elder Roberts

June 13, 2016
Well, what can I say? I have 2 weeks left. I’m feeling great. We have a few people who want to get baptized in the next few weeks. I hope I’ll be here to see them. If not, they will get that opportunity later. This week, Erma is pretty much ready! She’s a cool lady. She’s kinda scary sometimes.
I’m enjoying myself, I’m finishing strong, and I’m loving every moment of it! Ill see you guys soon!
Love Elder Roberts

June 20, 2016
I think this will probably be my last email, considering that I probably won’t take the time to write very much my last monday in the offices.

Well folks its coming down to the end….
This week was super good.

ERMA GOT BAPTIZED!! This woman is such a miracle. I believe I mentioned a few things about her in the last couple emails, but I’m going to tell the full story. Okay.

So before Elder Webb got here, this guy named Efrain just showed up to our church, we contacted him thinking he might not be a member. He commented that he was, but that he had been inactive for a while and just barely moved into our ward and wanted to get a new start. We put an appointment with him to fortify him and help him come back to the church. For some reason we weren’t able to go to that appointment, nor were we able to go to the next 3 APPOINTMENTS that we put with him. I was the guy who wrote it down in the agenda and I have a very very clear recollection that I wrote these appointments down. Sidenote: I’ve looked back in my old agenda to find these appointments and they really aren’t anywhere. I’m not really sure what that means, but it’s kind of interesting. The perfect timing of the Lord? Anyway, Elder Webb gets here. We finally write down a good appointment, and our day cleared up perfectly to go visit Efrain. That poor man. We show up and he obviously wasn’t expecting us, but was super happy to see us. His house was/is enormous. We briefly see his wife, who is a pediatrician and was currently attending a patient in her private office in house office. He says to his wife “Hey the missionaries came to finally convince you to get baptized!” Now, in my experience, a comment of that nature means that she would have listened to thousands of missionaries they’ve done so many things to get her to be baptized that she has hard feelings against the church. That’s what we were expecting. Efrain takes us to his dining room and we start talking to him while waiting for Erma, his wife. He explains to us that she was very Catholic, but had just barely stopped going because she saw some things in the church that she didn’t like. He continues to tell us that he hasn’t taught her anything about our church in itself, but has been teaching her restored truths about the Godhead and about the Plan of Salvation for the last 2 years. He said that as she learned, she would study it, meditate, and then ask God if each doctrine that she learned was true. We were seriously amazed. We had a brief FHE where Efrain taught the lesson, and we invited her to go to church and put an appointment to return the following Tuesday. I remember that during this entire first encounter, the Spirit was just really strong. It did a lot of cool things with my mind. First it just allowed me to feel its influence and enjoy the experience, then thoughts like “you better not miss the next appointment” and “invite her to church” came to mind. Then it put me to reflect on how amazing this whole situation was. God had been preparing her for two years, about the same time Elder Webb and I started our missions.  From then, until now, she has been carefully, perfectly, prepared to hear the gospel, on that special day. Anyway, she went to church, and we had 2 appointments at 8:00 on Tuesday, so Elder Webb went with Erma and I went with a different investigator. He said that visit was very intense, and he taught her the full restoration. When he went to invite her to a baptismal date, he pulled out his phone, but his phone somehow got reset to its factory settings. he looked at the calendar and counted a couple weeks down, thinking he was looking at the month of June, but was actually looking at January. Without paying attention, he invited her to baptism on the 18th of June. She said “Today is the 8th of June….” He said when he realized it, he just felt really good about it even though he had messed up. She accepted the date.

We went back for the next lesson. It was a mess. She had received her answer from God that the church was true. But that caused some very unusual emotions. She was actually really quite angry. She felt like everything that she had done and all her efforts in her life up until that point had been a big waste of time. We talked to her, but everything we said she just kinda yelled at us and we couldn’t understand anything she said. We were both just begging the Spirit to tell us what to say the entire lesson. It ended fine. She made us a dessert, carlotta, and every time we talked about how good it was she got really happy again. So we kept our conversation to that and got out of there. On sunday morning, the first counselor called us and said 2 people who were giving talks weren’t going to church, and asked us to talk on Pride and the Temple. We flipped a coin, and I was lucked into the pride talk, my companion the temple. We gave our talks. When the meeting ended, Erma came up to us in tears and thanked us for our messages and said she received revelation. She had a really cool experience with her garden, which I’ll share with you all later. Its really special to me. Anyway, with that, she was good to go! We told her to give it another week, but from that moment she received revelation, she was unstoppable. Elder Capps came down to interview her and she knew everything and had an unshakeable testimony. We organized the baptismal service PERFECTLY! We were so proud. It went SO well. Her husband gave an incredible testimony. It rained while we took pictures, and Erma was tearing up because she has made a really personal connection between rain and blessings in her life.  Then, Erma and I left to perform the ordinance. When we get to the font, we realize that it had drained out!! All the water was gone. I was so embarrassed. I felt horrible. Somehow, it slipped my mind, my companions, and our mission leaders mind to close the drain when we filled it. We threw some mormon messages on for the people in the service. We started filling it. I think it took a hit on Erma. After talking about it later, Elder Webb and I feel like it was supposed to happen for some reason. We don’t know yet, but we feel/hope it was necessary for her. She fell to her knees and just prayed and cried when she saw it. I hope it was a good cry. Anyway, we got it filled about a foot lower than it should be. This font is small by the way. And Erma is a large woman. And she’s pregnant. She looks at us as its filling and says “It’s filled high enough” In my mind I said “NO I NEED THAT EXTRA FOOT THERES NO WAY IM GOING TO BE ABLE TO BAPTIZE YOU!” But I said “Yeah lets go for it.” so she didn’t feel bad. I ran to the bathroom and prayed really fervently for strength. Everything went smoothly. She was baptized. I know God helped me baptize her in that shallow water. To give you an idea, the water was 2 inches below my knee. I received lots of help. The next day she was confirmed. In Gospel Principles, she gave the most powerful testimony of the Atonement Ive heard in a long time. During her testimony, a swear word slipped out (it was pretty funny, well work on that). Erma has made such a big impact on my life in such a short time.

I know that God is he who runs this work. We did nothing in this whole process. He prepared her, he taught her, he answered all of her prayers, he even lifted her out of the water in her baptism. I stand all amazed to be a part of that process. This is the work of the Lord. And I love him.

See you all on Wednesday (June 29)!  Love you all! Elder Roberts

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Elder Roberts – May 2 to May 16, 2016

Hi All,
Hugh will be coming home June 29! We are very excited! He will speak in church July 10. All are invited. 9am at Racho Carillo Ward(3450 Camino De Los Coches, Carlsbad, CA)
Doug Roberts

Here are Hugh’s letters:
May 2, 2016
I’m feeling good this week. A lot better. I can feel your prayers and I thank you for it. We gotta finish strong!

We had a really cool experience with Daisy. She is a really cool lady. She stopped smoking, coffee, and hasn’t missed church in a very long time. She recognizes the vast blessings from the gospel in her life. It’s such a joy to talk to her. On saturday we visited her and we did a pre baptismal interview with her, but we embedded it in casual conversation. We then explained to her the doctrine of covenants. She got really excited and said “How.. or when.. can I make a covenant!?” We smiled and said “Well, the first covenant is baptism and you can get baptized pretty much whenever you want to.” She said “Well, how do I know if I’m prepared? I feel really good but I want to do this right” and we said “We just did an interview with you and you did great! You’re totally ready.” She’s a really animated person so we had some good laughs out of that. She should be getting baptized really soon! She had a very minor doubt about a commitment she made with another church, so we just told her to pray about it and let us know tomorrow what day she’s getting baptized.

After the lesson, the bus we needed turned the corner a half a block ahead of us, so we ended up doing a 300 yard sprint to catch it. We had a really important meeting with the bishop and would’ve been late. We got it!! I think we scared a lot of people. The thing is, my companion was going full speed down the middle of the road. I chose the sidewalk, which isn’t a good idea. The sidewalks here are horrible. People build things, add extra stands for their little shops, put chairs, etc in the middle of the sidewalk. Not to mention the sidewalks are never flat. There was this part where, at the bottom of 2 sidewalk stairs, this older lady and her son placed a little ice cream cart in my path. I didn’t notice until the last second because I had to duck and avoid hitting this little gazebo roof thing, and I gazelled over that ice cream cart. I took a hurdle approach. I felt like air jordan haha. I then said “perdon! hasta luego!” and had to keep going. They were probably scared at first but when I looked back they were laughing. Silly gringos. Next time I’ll probably take the street with my companion. We felt so accomplished when we caught that bus though.

Also, this week my companion and I killed about 100 cockroaches in 2 days. We are going to do a body count tonight to get an official number, but we went to war. On friday night I opened the door to our patio out back and I saw probably 50 cockroaches. They left their hiding places because of how hot it was. My companion and I took 2 or 3 minutes to discuss strategy, and we decided to stun them by hurling a bucket of water on them before any attack. It was genius. The best part is there are a lot of old bricks, wood, sandals etc in the back so we were able to try multiple weapon choices. I was more of a brick guy and Elder Bowers liked the wood. It was great fun. The next night, we updated our weaponry and bought some sprays. We used two full cans. I hope none of our neighbors understand english because we were screaming “GET EM! FIRE! PASS ME THAT BRICK! GO GO GO!” for at least 45 minutes.

We are going to Veracruz for a meeting tomorrow. I might lose my comp tomorrow 😦
Love you guys! Talk to you soon
Elder Roberts

May 9, 2016
Right after our mother’s day phone call we went to go visit Daisy. We entered into her house calmly, sat down, asked how she was doing etc.

She was really anxious and nervous and we could tell. The day before she mentioned that she had made her decision about baptism. So we said a prayer and then said “Well, what’s you’re decision? I think we are all pretty anxious for this moment!” And she said “Well, I want to be baptized as soon as possible. When can I do it? This saturday or sunday?” We were so excited! We talked about the plans briefly and organized the interview etc, and then it got kind of awkward. It reminded me a lot of the scene from the Best Two Years when the dude said he wanted to be baptized and the missionaries were like “What do we do? I’ve never gotten to this point”. I haven’t seen anyone that excited! And plus after all the time it took for her to make her decision, it was just a different experience and situation. But a great one. She’s really cool.

I have a new comp! Elder Webb. One of my long time best buddies and examples from the mission. I’m stoked that he may be my last companion. He truly is an answer to many prayers and Im so grateful.
Pictures to come next week. Love you all!
Elder Roberts

May 16, 2016
I learned a lot this week and I’m kind of struggling to sort it out into an email.

Well first off, we didn’t work at all on tuesday or wednesday because we had a visit from a member of the Quorum of Seventy, Elder Falabela. On Tuesday we had a mixed zone conference where he talked to us and instructed us. Then on Wednesday, some missionaries got together and we talked about how to implement his teachings into the mission.

The meeting with Elder Falabela was INCREDIBLE! I really enjoyed his teaching style. It was very unique and I quite enjoyed it. He taught in a style almost opposite to my own, and I had never seen it before.

But he talked a lot about grace and charity. It was really cool the way he did it. So he got a whiteboard and drew a glass cup and asked “what percentage of works and what percentage of grace gives us our salvation?” A couple missionaries stood up and gave their opinions. They were slightly off doctrinally. Then someone finally said “Grace saves us 100%!” and He said “Yes! Then why do we do works?” Another missionary got up and proposed about something. I felt prompted to get up and share what I had learned from Brad Wilcox’ talk “His Grace is Sufficient”, but to be honest I was kinda nervous. I felt the prompting again. So I sucked up my nervousness and stood up and said “Grace is 100% available to everyone and it is grace which saves us. Our salvation is set, if we repent. But, we do works to be able to learn to live in heaven so we can stay there once we return to God.” That is something that hit me really hard when I was learning about grace, because it’s something so commonly misunderstood. Elder Falabela liked my answer. We talked a bit after the meeting and it was cool to meet him. The thing that strikes me so much about the general authorities I meet, is their humility. It’s so inspiring to just meet them and talk to them.

Anyway, Elder Webb, my new companion, is amazing. I love this guy a lot and I hope I’m with him until the end of my mission. It would be a very very happy ending. I have ONE TRANSFER LEFT. I’m very excited. We are going to see miracles this week I just know it. We need them!! haha
Love you all!
Elder Roberts

Elder Roberts – April 11 to 25, 2016

April 11, 2016
We are super busy. No time to write. Very happy. They give us lots of food. Here are pictures. You are all the best. Stay strong. Gospel is true.
Love, Elder Roberts

April 18, 2016
Okay so there’s a lot to say.
First of all, I LOVE my area! Cordoba is really cool. It’s definitely the wealthiest area I’ve been in. They treat us extraordinarily well here. Today one of the members took us in his little Beetle (hilarious, imagine me and my 6’ 8” comp in a VW beetle) to go check out a house he’s working on (he’s an architect). The neighborhood was insanely wealthy. Lots of very nice cars and big houses etc. The funny part was that we asked him how much those houses costed, and they were very reasonable prices for the US haha. Lets live in Mexico! This is a very different experience than the other areas I’ve been to in the course of my mission.
But anyway, Cordoba is also really cool because of the people. They look very…different. They have a lot of Spanish and Italian influences in their culture, and they look like them too. Lots of people with blue eyes and such. I’m going to finish my mission happy here.
The only problem is that it’s HARD to find people to teach here!! Man! We are struggling a little. My comp got sick this week too, we had to stay a day inside since I didn’t know the area at all. I read some really cool talks. But yeah.. we have a couple of investigators progressing a bit but they are moving slow.
I had a really cool opportunity to interview this lady named Rosa from another area who was preparing for baptism. Right when I sat down and we said a prayer, she exclaimed “I don’t want to be baptized yet!” I laughed and asked her why. She said she was worried about keeping the commandments after baptism and didn’t want to fail. She said “I LOVE the church and everything about it, and I want to go every sunday and I love the Book of Mormon. Every time I read it my heart feels with warmth and I know its true and from the Lord himself.”
Obviously if she didn’t want to be baptized yet we weren’t going to force her, but I wanted to make sure she understood what she was doing first (I got the feeling this hadn’t been taught to her before).
Luckily, when my comp was sick, I read and studied the talk by David A Bednar which is called “always retaining a remission of your sins” or something of the sort. And I taught her the doctrine of baptism, the sacrament, and the holy ghost, and how they are interconnected. I explained the importance of covenants. It took me about an hour because she only studied through middle school, but she had a really noble heart. I had her repeat the covenants she would make at baptism at least 10 times until she learned it by memory. Then to end the lesson/interview I said “Now that you understand all of this, when do you want to get baptized?” And she said “Not this coming Saturday, but the next. I want to prepare myself just a tad more to fulfill this contract Im going to make with God” (I taught her the word contract so she would understand covenants and ordinances).
It was one of my best teaching experiences of all time. I could see the doctrine of Jesus Christ just… change her as she came to understand it. Like President Monson said “When doctrine is understood, behavior changes.” I know that’s true. My purpose was not to convince her to get baptized. The last thing I want is someone baptized who wont stay active in the church. But I guess the Spirit sure wanted her baptized sooner, and as she allowed it, He changed her desires, took away her worries, and helped her understand her future. She was just giddy after that. She ran out the door (she’s 47 years old, but when I say she ran I’m not exaggerating) and yelled to the Elders who have been teaching her “I’m getting baptized next saturday! I’m ready now!”
I had felt the spirit so strong in that lesson I was almost as giddy as she was. haha. Lets all make sure we understand the doctrine of Christ!!!!!! Please!
Read that talk and read it again until you understand it, because it is a tad hard to understand.
I love you all!! Here are some pics.
The first one is of a family I taught in Veracruz. The day after I left, the wife got a huge spiritual confirmation that the book of mormon was true, and got baptized that very saturday. I was really bummed because Elder Faerber and I had fought through blood sweat and tears to help her get an answer to her prayer (she was very catholic) and I missed that event by mere hours. But, after whining a bit to Elder Bowers (my new comp), I piped down because I know this work isn’t about me. It’s about God and his children. So here’s the pictures, and that’s why I’m not in it haha.
1. that family i just described
2. I’m a little angel

April 25, 2016
I don’t consider myself a very superstitious person, but I feel like every time I write about someone really cool, something ridiculous happens and they stop progressing and we lose them… so I’m really considering writing about this lady named daisy……. I don’t know.
Anyway she’s really cool and showed up to church yesterday. We hadn’t been able to teach her for 2 weeks because she’s been really busy with her work. I’ve only taught her once in my time here, and we taught her about the word of wisdom. She drinks lots of coffee. She showed up to church and exclaimed “I haven’t drank (or is it drunk?) coffee in a week! I’m tired of it!” It was pretty cool. We were happy because that usually doesn’t happen where they leave their addictions/problems without lots of lessons and help, but she sure did it! We just have to stick with her so she keeps up the pace.
I realized something interesting this week. My comp is almost exactly like me! So yeah I’ve realized a lot of things about me that I need to change… funny how things work out like that right? I don’t think I’ve really taken any pictures this week, I’ll check my camera right now and if there are any I’ll send them over.
These last couple months have been a serious test for me. My body is physically deteriorating as my mission has gone on. I don’t think I have physically recovered from each transfer that I’ve served. I must say, that makes me happy though. You gotta leave it all in the field. I’m taking care of myself. I basically just feel like I’m in the last couple minutes of the 4th quarter and we are running a full court press. And I don’t have any weird sickness. I’m totally fine with regards to health, so please do not make any worried or drastic calls to President telling him to take care of me. First of all, its not necessary. And second, he will indirectly make fun of you in the leadership meetings hahaha it’s actually really funny.  I’m happy to say I’ve improved my prayers quite a bit. I had one of my most powerful experiences with prayer the other day. I’ll tell you guys about it another time. Those prayers have helped me keep my spiritual desires stronger than my physical desires, which include resting and not walking anymore. Especially when I get excited and start running around (like when it rained the other day). The rain is so much fun.
I am so grateful for the covenants I have made in my life. Covenants, made official by ordinances, manifest “the power of godliness” in us, and prepare us to meet and live with God one day. (D&C 84:19-21). I love sharing that scripture with investigators and less actives, and then ask “What is the power of godliness?”. We must be careful and notice that it says “power of godliness” and not “power of God”. Granted, God has all power in heaven and earth, but he provides to us this very special opportunity to access the power of GODLINESS, in other words, the power to become more like God. That’s what the purpose of covenants is. They open a channel between us and Deity (as Bednar teaches). As we complete with our side of the covenant, the Lord completes his, and thus pours out his spirit upon us, which purifies us and eradicates all sin “as if by fire” (see John 3:5). Change and progression in life ONLY comes by making and keeping covenants, which of course includes principles of faith and repentance. Is that not accessing the power of the Atonement? 🙂
I have felt this in my life. So, I invite each of you to think about the covenants you have made. Then, go read the scriptures or go to the temple to remember what your part of the covenant is. Then, change your life to more fully complete with your side of the bargain. As you do so, the Spirit with change even your deepest desires and aspirations in life, and thereby change your actions. Plus, pay attention to the specific blessings of each covenant, and you will see them manifest in your life.
One of the specific blessings of the covenant of the Melchizadek priesthood is the “renovation of body” (forgive me if it doesn’t say that in english, I’m translating it from spanish). I know that I would not have physically been able to make it this far in my mission without that blessing. I have done my best to magnify my calling, which is my part of the covenant, and the Lord has blessed me abundantly. We are a COVENANT people. So lets do it!
Like I said:
1. Think of covenants you’ve made
2. Check what you have to do to fulfill your part
3. Check what God promises to do
4. Do those things
5. See a difference

I love you all!
Elder Roberts

Elder Roberts – March 14 to April 4, 2016

March 14, 2016
Okay, sooo…our ward got split this week!! WOW! They took our ward (Hortalizas) and another ward, Camino Real, and made a new ward out of them called Torrentes. To do so, they had to change some ward boundaries so we have a relatively new ward!! It was really exciting and all the members were buzzing about it. Its going to be really fun. We got a new ward mission leader and we are already planning some activities so everyone can get to know each other. It was really cool how it all happened. Unfortunately we had to pass some of our investigators that were getting baptized next week to some other missionaries in the zone… haha its okay though were on the same team. Its just great to see the kingdom of God grow.

Funny story: we visited this lady who is less active. She said she doesn’t go to church because she is “allergic to the early morning” and can’t go because our ward starts at 8 in the morning. Well shoot lady, I’m allergic to the mornings too, but we just have to do it! My comp and I got a good laugh out of that one.

Also, really good news: Our convert C, is 18 and is preparing for a mission.  He wasn’t able to get into military school, so HE CAN GO ON A MISSION!! WOOHOO!

What else…. today we went to see Fernan Cortes house! And the first Catholic Church on the American continent! And an alligator farm!! Here are the pics.

March 21, 2016
So this week was… pretty tough. Like I mentioned last week, our ward got split. Unfortunately, a lot of the less actives and people we worked with are in the parts we lost. So we walked a lot this week…

But, we have one little family that is progressing pretty well. It’s a dad who was a member, Gustavo, but got inactivated when he was 10. His wife and his son aren’t members and we are currently teaching them. Really, its just a battle for her to get an answer. She is willing to join the church because her sons love church (we made really good friends with them….their 10 and 5 years old hahaha) but we want her to join because of divine instruction. We have talked about baptism and feel like she would do it, but we want this to be real and special for her and for her to receive her own answer from God. We do have a different baptism this week, so that should be a great experience. Umm… that’s really everything. I was really impressed with the ward split. The attendances in church in the wards affected by the change all turned out really similar. I guess I shouldn’t be super impressed and just expect it considering it was approved by the First Presidency… but I always appreciate seeing inspired leadership.
Anyway, love you guys!!
Elder Roberts

March 28, 2016
It’s been a really good week!

For one reason or another, we taught a lot about the Holy Ghost this week. To all of our investigators and a lot of less actives.  Because of the ward split, we got two little pieces of different wards and they have a ton of less actives.

A lot of them have the attitude of “I know exactly what I need to do, and I know why. But I still don’t want to.” So we talk a lot about how the Spirit changes our desires, our attitudes, and aspirations. It was fun and I learned quite a bit.

Anyway, Michelle also got baptized this week! We got a new mission leader and he’s really making a difference. His name is Abraham. I think he is probably the best of example of magnifying a calling I’ve seen in my time here in Veracruz. He really made a difference and the baptismal service was very beautiful.

I went on divisions with C. We taught the plan of salvation (well, only the first part) and he said afterward “you know, every time I leave with you guys it convinces me more and more to go on a mission.”

We are so happy to hear that because its been a bit of a struggle with this kid. I mean, you can’t blame him. He lived for 18 years with a dream to be a pilot in the mexican air force. And he has prepared himself very well in school and politically as well (he knows a lot of people haha) and now he has to choose between the mission and his dream.

We taught him about receiving revelation (another lesson about the spirit :)) and we told him how we can receive a lot of revelation through the words of living prophets. So he decided to “watch conference in order to know if he should go on a mission”. I’m just hoping one of the apostles or the 70s talks about how important it is to go on a mission in one of the sessions. I imagine they’ll at least mention it in the priesthood session.
He would be an extraordinary missionary thats for sure.
Anyway, thats about all I have this week!
Love you all, enjoy easter!

April 4, 2016
I got changed to a new area! I’m now in the Cordova Zone!! In the Nuevo Cordova ward.

It’s pretty cool here. This is supposed to be the cooler part of Veracruz so I’m excited. The Lord has blessed me with a little mercy this summer, since last summer I was in the hottest city in the country of Mexico (true story). I’m now with Elder Bowers from Oregon. He’s a different Bowers than the last one in Tierra Blanca. He’s also taller than me (my 3rd comp taller than me) and we are ready to get some work done. I’m a little sad because we had a couple families progressing in Hortalizas, my old area, but I guess the elder who’s getting there will have the blessing to see their baptisms. There are people who need me here!!

I LOVED conference! Since I was in the port, it’s the first time that I was actually able to watch it well. The internet WORKED! I was amazed and I was so grateful. I loved the talk by Paul V Johnson “And there shall be no more death”. This talk wasn’t one of the universal favorites like the one by Uchtdorf or Holland. Also, I loved Bednar’s talk too. Pure doctrine. It was a work of art.

But the one that really hit me hard with the spirit was Johnson’s. During his talk, I felt the question “what do you know to be true because of the resurrection?” I actually stopped listening to the talk in that moment and I started writing down the things I know are true because Jesus Christ rose again. Here are some of them:

1. He is the Christ
2. Heavenly Father loves me
3. There is a life after this life
4. I will receive another body in the resurrection like He did
5. If I am also obedient, I will receive all power in heaven and earth like the Father, just like all fellow children of God
6. I will live with my family again if we are obedient together
7. All the things Jesus taught are true
8. He truly established ONE TRUE CHURCH with an exact, precise truth
9. If I ask, I can know if that church and doctrine is true
10. Temples are necessary to bring salvation to the living and the dead
11. the only church who performs such ordinances is The Church of Jesus Christ
12. This is that church
13. Temple work and the rest of the fullness of the gospel was restored by Joseph Smith the prophet of God
14. The Book of Mormon is yet another witness of the divinity of Christ
15. I have a lot of work to do and lots to change!!!

Those are the first 15 things that came to my mind. It was a very eye opening and spiritual experience for me. This isn’t in any particular order of importance or anything of that nature. Like I said, this is the order of truths that I feel and know as they came into my head.

I am so grateful that Jesus Christ resurrected, and that the Holy Ghost led me to have such a wonderful learning moment and time of reflection. Here are some of my favorite people that I left behind in the transfer: see photos attached

Love you all!
Elder Roberts

What do you know to be true because Jesus rose from the tomb on the 3rd day?

Elder Roberts February 22 to March 7, 2016

February 22, 2016
I think it would be safe to say that this was one of the most stressful/hardest weeks of my mission. I think I lost some hair. It started out really good and everything looked like it was going to go beautifully. Here in Mexico, during February they have free weddings for Valentines day. So, we timed it really good with this one family we are teaching that wasn’t married. We have been preparing them forever for this! Jose started following the Word of Wisdom. They got married on Thursday and then were going to get baptized on Saturday.
We also had another baptism planned for Saturday, that of Enrique. Well, on Thursday we went to the registro civil (I completely forgot how to say that in English honestly, its where people get married here). As we were leaving the registro civil, Jose angel whipped off his shirt and said “WE ARE MARRIED AND RIGHTEOUS!” It was hilarious.
So, everything was looking good. We were going to have a double ward baptism with Enrique, Jose Angel, and this really cute, awesome lady named Viridiana from a different ward that went to the same building. She is really good. I was so happy for Hna Howells and Hna Corral who taught her.
Anyway, we don’t have a ward mission leader, so we asked their ward mission leader to get the font filled, the program made, etc. Meanwhile, Jose called us and said that he wasn’t following the Word of Wisdom and couldn’t get baptized. We told him to wait for us while we got to his house (we had to take a 20 minute bus because our area is enormous), but by the time we arrived he had left. So we searched the whole colony for him. We couldn’t find him or his wife anywhere. We wanted to talk to him to maintain his excitement for the gospel. When people make mistakes, they can get really frustrated with themselves and decide to not continue striving to be better.  Anyway, an hour and a half later we gave up on searching for him. (Quick note: he showed up to church on sunday and we talked to him really good and helped him understand, so he’s doing fine for a baptismal date a little farther in the future).
So we weren’t able to get to the baptism early. When we get there, we see that nothing is ready. The mission leader of the other ward wasn’t able to fill the font. Some families got hot and bothered and made some unhelpful comments. The baptism started an hour late, but it was a beautiful service and the Spirit returned once we started. Everyone was in tears! Especially Enrique and Viridiana. They are going to be wonderful members of the church.
I had some other stressful experiences to share later.
Here’s a highlight of the week: My companion ate NOT ONE, but TWO habaneros! If you don’t remember, the habanero is the hottest chile that exists in Mexico. They use it in lots of really good salsas, but in small doses. The Mexicans love it because its ridiculously hot, it has great flavor, and it doesn’t affect your stomach.
Elder Faerber was a warrior. Unfortunately, his stomach wasn’t as determined as he was, and he puked. I wouldn’t ever dare eat two at a time. I’ve eaten two, but in separate occasions. Good for him. Its good, clean fun.
We also got to wash a less active families car. We had a hilarious time. The picture describes everything.
Before I end, there’s also this investigator we are teaching named Alejandro. He used to be extraordinarily catholic, but we felt like we should visit him again (the last time we went, we decided he wasn’t going to progress and didn’t return). We sat down with him and he was SO DIFFERENT! It was weird. He basically told us “I want to get baptized, I just want to feel the spirit. I don’t want to do this for my wife (who’s a member). Rather, I want to do this for me. If you can help me have these spiritual experiences, I will be baptized and I will be an active member to the death. I don’t really care what my family says anymore. What do you guys have to say?” We were a little surprised. We taught him about the role of the spirit in his conversion so he would know what he’s actually looking for and how it will feel. The first couple verses of 3 Nephi 11 work really well for that. Then, we left him 2 Nefi 29 (the best BOM chapter ever) to get rid of his doubts. This Sunday at church he said “That chapter you left was good. It’s really really direct and a little harsh, but it helped me a ton with my doubts. He also needs to get married before getting baptism, so he’s leaving to work for a week to get money to do so, and when he gets home, we shall see what happens. I’m excited.
Anyway, thats all I can think of. I love you all!

I love you Lindsey I’m so pumped to go to BYU with you!!
Elder Roberts

February 29, 2016
I’m not really sure what to write about this week. We had a lot more success. Ah! Yes! I just remembered.
So about 3 weeks ago we found this family. There last name is Organista which is pretty cool and funny. They professed themselves to be very Catholic, but we insisted and they let us in. To be honest, I got excited because it was a family of 4 (AND THEY WERE MARRIED….WHAT A MIRACLE!!) so I kinda took over the whole lesson and taught it. I felt like I did so very clearly, but they had good questions and I gave them some bad, hard to understand, answers. Long story short, the lesson was a complete failure, hah. I was so incredibly frustrated after that lesson. It took me like 4 hours to get over it and vent it all out. I’m sure my companion got annoyed with me. ” Why did they not understand!?” “how could they possibly believe what they believe!? It’s so ….”
But, on friday morning, we were walking around. All appointments fell. It was just a normal day. But that family just popped into my mind. We decided to head over and visit them. They received us really well. I was a little worried. Their grandmother was there. She was 97 years old. To be honest, I’m a little scared of old ladies like that. They are very firm and feisty for the most part. Turns out she was blind and deaf. I sighed in relief. The mom, who had all the questions, sat down and had her book of mormon all ready in her hands. She said “Missionaries, I read this book last night for the first time. I really liked the testimony of Jose Smith. But I have a question. I simply don’t understand how god keeps calling prophets.” My mind just exploded with different thoughts and feelings. She understood something from last lesson!? She has desire!? She read!? She’s interested!? What!? The most prominent feeling was “The pressure is on. Lets see how we do this lesson.”
I looked over at my comp hoping he would teach instead of me. And he just stared at me and said really quietly in English: “Its all you. Time to repent.”
I gave her the simplest explanation I could about dispensations and how God always calls prophets. Every follow up question she made just led me to the next principle. After explaining prophets she said “Thats true. We have always rejected prophets. Even Jesus Christ.” So i taught about Jesus! Then she asked “Okay, so what happened when we rejected Jesus and his apostles?” I explained the apostasy very simply. We actually spent most of the lesson on that point because of her church’s misinterpretation of Matthew 16. But, we made it past that part. I explained Joseph Smith. She asked “okay I believe you. But how can I be sure he was a prophet.” At that part of the lesson I just smiled and pointed at her book of mormon. I said, “read that. and pray and ask God.” She started to feel bad because she had read but not prayed. Then she said “How did it happen for you?” So I bore my testimony. She said “And you think he’ll really answer me?” I said “He did to me. Does God love me more than you?” It was such a beautiful teaching moment where I could make up for all the teaching mistakes I committed the lesson before.
Once my companion saw that my repentance was sufficient hahaha, he started to verify with her: “okay, so why will you read and pray?”
she said: “well, I want to know the truth to raise my family. My salvation is on the line.”
That answer hit me like a brick. Because the lesson before, she and her husband told us like 900 times that “you aren’t going to change my faith. everyone believes what they want, and its all okay as long as you believe in God right?” LIKE 900 TIMES. She even accepted baptism!
It was a big testimony to me and my companion that God is at the steering wheel. He does His work. We do almost nothing. He has all influence and power and wisdom. His timing is perfect.
He taught that to us on friday. It was really cool. We didn’t say a word to each other after that lesson until we got to the next appointment. There really was nothing to say. It was.. really an incredible experience.
Love you all!
Elder Roberts

March 7, 2016
We had a slow week. I got sick. I’m better now because it was nothing fatal or worth preoccupation, but it hit me like a truck and I was down for the week.
It’s always fun experiencing the medical treatments and beliefs of the country. They have some hilarious ideas in the world of medicine. When I went to the doctor, I told her about 5 or 6 different symptoms for what I had. The doctor then proceeded to prescribe me 5 or 6 different medicines. One for each symptom hahaha. I just bought the antibiotic and then threw the prescriptions for the other medications away, took some ibuprofen, and I feel better now.  We had a couple interviews and we visited a cool little family on saturday night. Dad is a member. his name is Gustavo. The wife and kids aren’t though. They actually went to church on Sunday. Accepted baptism and the whole 9 yards. It was really good.
I think my body is just…how do I explain this…
I think my body hasn’t recovered from earlier parts of my mission. In my first 4 areas, I just worked my guts out. As hard as I could. Full throttle all day every day. Now that I’m in my 5th area, my body just can’t do that anymore. We still work really hard, but it affects me more.
For example, with food, before this area, I could stuff as much food in my stomach as my brain allowed. Generally, that resulted in over eating so I didn’t offend an hermana in the ward and other social pressures alike. But now, my stomach and my brain don’t care anymore. I only eat 1 plate of food, and I feel very satisfied and very happy. And that is all. They look at me and say “There are tortillas right there.” or “Theres more food elder.” or “you’re really big you should eat more.” and I just smile and say “I’m sorry I cannot physically eat anymore.” Because if I do, I feel really bad the rest of the day. I was a little concerned, and I talked to about 8 different missionaries who all have as much time as me or more, and they are in agreement. So yeah, thats the update on my life. I’m doing wonderful. Getting sick is a mental struggle more than anything. I made great progress on Jesus the Christ though.
Love,
Elder Roberts

The picture is after a nerf gun fight with my companion

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Elder Roberts – February 1 to 15, 2016

February 1, 2016
Hah, this week. What a story… So let me start 2 weeks back. 2 weeks ago, my companion and I found that all of a sudden it was really hard to get up at 6:30 in the morning. After waking up, we just felt really horrible. We were even going to bed on time and everything. We had some other bathroom complications and were really worried so I called Hna Cordova, our president’s wife and told her how I was feeling and what was going on and her reaction wasn’t comforting: “Elder, I have no idea what that is. Call the doctor ASAP.”
Uh oh… so I called Hna Burgos our mission doctor. She instructed us to head to her office on the other side of the port. It took us 2 hours to get there!! We get there, one of the first things she asks us is “have you guys been having a hard time getting up in the morning?” We said yes. Then she did a couple weird tests on me that are unique to the medical science of Mexico. Turns out, my companion and I both had/have parasites. She told us to get some pills and some orange juice. You wont believe how hard it is to find real orange juice here in Mexico. Its all… sugar substitute. Which is delicious. But we needed the real stuff. Where were running around in BYU shirts and sandals all over going in every little tienda. Finally we found some. I chugged 1.5 liters. I already finished all my pills and I feel sooo much better and feel normal. I’m pretty sure that I don’t have anything anymore. But my comp is still running through that beloved process.
Remember that super miracle I talked about? When I was talking on the phone with Elder Chamberlain and 2 people walked into the church wanting to be baptized? The mom was having some difficulties getting baptized. We went over to visit her and see how she was doing. We had an incredibly spiritual lesson. My companion was a spiritual monster in that lesson. The lady even said “That is exactly what I needed to hear.” We were in there for a short time when she finally just said “I have to get baptized on Saturday.” I left with her son, my comp did the interview, and she was baptized! I had a really good time with her son, who was having doubts about the temple. He’s very smart. We had a fantastic lesson. I taught him the difference between covenants and ordinances, what the saving ordinances are, and how we do them for the dead.  Attached are pictures of these two.
I love you all!
Elder Roberts

February 8, 2016
We had a training meeting this week. It was really interesting actually. So on tuesday we had a leadership meeting to sort out the details of what we wanted to teach, and then on thursday we introduced it to the rest of the mission. There are 9 zones in the mission, so all the zones double up except one. We are the Veracruz Mexico zone, and we got together with the Villa Rica zone. We were told that President was going to direct everything and that he may call on us to give our opinions and such. But wow it was pretty different.  President gets up, makes some announcements, and then says “Alright Elder Mills, teach us about repentance.”  So he just had to stand up and teach everyone in front of president. I imagine it was a little scary. So he finishes. Then President gets back up and says “Hey Elder Roberts, what’s the next thing were supposed to talk about?” “The area plan.” “Exactly. Okay we will now hear from Elder Roberts as he teaches us about the Area Plan.” Wow. I was really unprepared for that. It was the first time I had taught in front of President. I tried to act as calm and comfortable as possible, and I think I convinced myself to be. I felt actually quite good up there. I started explaining how we were supposed to use the area plan, and the missionaries asked me questions. I thought “Why on earth are you asking me? I dont know!! President is sitting right behind me!! He’s the mastermind.” But, I answered their questions to the best of my ability and president didn’t say anything (thats a really good thing, if he joins in that means you missed something). Then, I did a brief demonstration with my companion on how to teach it. And then everyone else divided into groups and did practices. Then, we all got back together and we discussed how it all went and set goals. It was really fun to be honest. I kinda like getting cold called.
Also, we had to plan the agenda for the meeting. I asked this new missionary Hna Corral to direct the hymns. That morning I found this antenna thingy in the house and we figured it’d be really funny if she directed the hymns with it. She was a little against it at first but she’s really cool and it made everyone laugh during the hymn. I attached a picture of it below.
Elder Roberts

February 15, 2016
WE FINALLY GOT TO WORK THIS WEEK!! It was great!! We came out of the gates flying. I was so desperate to hit the streets. We had a wonderful week. We have 2 baptisms this upcoming week if all goes well, we found a cute little family (young couple) and they are really chill. To the degree that I would love to hang out with them as friends as a civilian. Their last name is Mota, which is super funny because it means “weed” or marijuana… we verified the Word of Wisdom a couple times but we are good to go, haha.
Our area is soooo big though. In my other areas when the whole pueblo was my area it was bigger. This area is just super long and ALL OF IT is just house after house after house. They all share walls. 3 story apartment buildings in some parts. We are rather busy. We have to take buses in between almost every appointment if we want to be even slightly punctual. I love taking the buses. The drivers drive them like mopeds. You have to sit really straight and not slouch so you don’t break your back. It’s hilariously fun. When they don’t slow down for speed bumps we sometimes catch up to 1 foot of air and its pretty good hang time.

Really cool story:
So the other day, my companion and I were walking on this really large road. It was the equivalent of a highway. We were trying to get to this appointment pretty far away. I was frustrated that we had taken that route because there were no houses to contact or people to really see. I honestly can’t remember why on earth we went that way, but we did. As we were walking along, this really dirty car pulled off to the side of the road and parked in front of us. A really large man got out really fast. Honestly, he looked kinda sketchy. My first thought was “Oh heavens, where is the nearest escape route?” The guy actually started running up to us and said “ELDERS!” He quickly explained to us that his wife was going through labor and she had 2-3 months left of pregnancy and she needed a priesthood blessing. She had been having contractions for the last 2 weeks and he had been trying to get a hold of some missionaries for those 2 weeks for a blessing. He wasn’t from Veracruz. Honestly I don’t remember where he was from. His accent was kind of weird. Anyway, he had been praying and trying to contact the missionaries and he had no luck. He and his wife (who wasn’t a member yet) got to the point that they had to leave for the hospital, blessing or not. 10 minutes before getting to the hospital, he saw us on the side of the road. He rushed us into his car and asked to give his wife a blessing. She was sitting shot gun. My comp jumped into the driver seat and I got in the back seat, right behind her and we gave her the long awaited blessing. The spirit was so incredibly strong. It was such a tender moment. As missionaries, we can’t interact with anyone without leaving a commitment, so we told her she had to pray the whole time she was in the hospital. She didn’t look very good at all. We looked at the guy and said “Well, looks like God heard you.” They thanked us, hopped back in, and took off.  My companion and I just kinda looked at each other and there was nothing to say. It was an incredible experience.
Sometimes we look for angels to tell us where to go, or big impressions. But, most of the time we just go, and the Lord organizes everything the way he needs it. We DID NOT get an impression to walk along the highway. But God knew. And God answered the prayer of that man.
So, let’s all continue in faith. God will get what he needs to get done. I love you all! have a wonderful week!
Elder Roberts

Elder Roberts – January 11 to 25, 2016

January 11, 2015
So, a couple of you have been asking me about what happened with Rosa. What happened was the following:
We decided together that she needed a little time more before her baptism. We taught her more about what repentance REALLY is, and simply asked her what she needed to change. She mentioned a few things and decided to change immediately.
We moved her baptism date back a week, but here’s the kicker: her dad (who is an apostate member who was baptized years ago but now worships the Santa Muerte) didn’t know that we changed her baptismal date. On Friday, January 1, we get a text from her, in which she explained to us she couldn’t talk to us anymore. It was really weird because that very day we had talked to her and she explained all the testimonies she’s received in personal prayer and study that this is true. We decided not to freak out, and we went to her house the next day, when we had put an appointment. We showed up and her dad was waiting for us. We were on good terms with him, but that day he looked different. He looked a little overly confident and content to me. He claimed that Rosa was sick in bed and couldn’t come out to talk to us. Okay fine. We talked to him.
He takes a lot of pride in being really direct and “saying things how they are”. He then proceeded to make personal attacks on my companion. In my head I was kinda getting frustrated because I’m not fond of when leaders or investigators do stuff like that. We are 100% a team. Directly attacking one of us doesn’t make sense to me. We plan and practice and meditate and talk about everything we do so we are on the same page. But that’s another story. Anyway, in my head I was screaming “BE HUMBLE. DONT GET MAD. JUST TAKE IT. PLEASE BE HUMBLE. DONT RUIN THIS”. My companion handled it really well. After all that, we talked to him more and explained we can change etc. Then right at the end of the lesson, Rosa hopped out of the room and she gave her dad a really harsh glare. And then we asked her if we could call her later.
So later that night we called her to “apologize”, but as we were talking to her she told us that everything her dad told us was a complete lie. And that he just doesn’t want her to be a member.
We haven’t been able to get in contact with Rosa for this whole week and now my companion has been transferred.  I think she’s having some serious family issues. We are still working on it though. Sometimes I get frustrated because I feel like all the coolest stories don’t turn out good. But we are still doing our best to find the elect.
I’m having an absolute ball with my new companion. We get along so well. It’s hilariously fun. We are going to have a lot of success.
Hold to the Rod!!
Elder Roberts

January 18, 2015
So, I think for this week, I would like to share a thought.
I have said many times that the only way to fail when doing to work of the Lord is to stop progressing and trying your best.
I had a thought the other day that may explain way.
I would like to suggest that is has to do with fact that as we receive more light, we are expected to grow.
When I first started the mission, I remember I was in an area. I had 6 months in the mission and my companion had 7. We were both american and neither of us spoke spanish that well. But, we put our heads down, didn’t complain, and worked as hard as we could. We made a ton of mistakes, and maybe didn’t work in the best way, but the Lord blessed us.
Now, I have a decent amount of time in the mission, and so does my companion. We have received a lot of trainings, and have had a lot of opportunities to grow and improve. With all of that, if we tried to just put our head down and mindlessly worked hard, we would not have success. Why? It worked before didn’t it?
In a sense of the word, we “have more light”. If we stop trying to improve and progress, we will not be blessed. The Lord wants us to grow. He wants to depend on him more, to work more with members, organize with the ward leadership, he just wants us to progress towards living with him again.
That what it is like with mission work. Thats why the mission isn’t easy.
This is also true in life. Do you think a people would progress if they didn’t have challenges? Definitely not. Life is really never going to be easy. Its not supposed to be. That’s the fun part about it. We cannot plateau. We will never reach a level on earth where God says “Okay, he did great, he made it. He’s done.” (Unless youre Enoc… haha)
Let’s always remember that. God wants continual progression. As we progress, we will receive more growth opportunities. But, we will also always be capable of overcoming them with Christ. I testify of that.
I love all of you!
Find a way to improve this week. And if you aren’t sure what you need to improve, read Larry R. Lawrences talk this last conference in the saturday morning session.
Elder Roberts

January 25, 2016
This week we had the worldwide training meeting presided by Dallin H Oaks by satellite viewing. It was really cool!
The strongest impression I got from the training was this: as a mission, our mission president is already on top of everything. There was nothing they said that blew my mind that hasn’t already been taught to us by President Cordova. Thats a testimony to me of the scripture “whether it is my voice or the voice of my servants it is the same.” I know our president receives revelation for our mission. Of course, on a personal level, the Spirit reminded me of a lot of things that I haven’t fully put in practice or need to start doing again.
Also this week, 2 members called us while they were eating and said “hey! we are waiting for you guys! Lets do divisions!” It was SO COOL. Never happened to me on my mission before. They are both like 70 years old too. So on the way over (we were almost running) we called a bunch of extra people to visit. We got so much done that day the sisters passed by our house that night and said “you guys visited everyone!! leave some for us!” I challenge all you members to do the same thing. Lets get this work moving a lot faster. Missionaries are always ready to speed things up. If they aren’t, get them ready! Hno Figueroa went with me. He’s a champ. He ended up tripping as we walked and fell hard on his face. I felt so bad!! But he just wiped it off and we kept moving.
We are also teaching this guy name Geronimo who is awesome. He’s already read the whole Book of Mormon…and the Quran and the Bible… and ¨the book Confucious wrote too… we have to be very doctrinal when we speak. No opinions or variations or he wrecks us haha
I love all of these people!
Elder Roberts

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