February 2, 2015
Wow, what a week! We had a super spiritual baptism this week. Maybe you remember the girl Joanna I mentioned? She is from the family of Bertha and Juan who got baptized 3 weeks ago. She was the one who had decided not to join the church. And I promised her mom that Joanna would decide to follow her mom into the waters of baptism shortly. After promising her mom, I wasn’t sure if that promise was a hope of mine or if I was feeling a prompting and promise from God. Well good news! I WASNT PREACHING APOSTASY! Joanna told us last saturday she was ready! And she got baptized yesterday!! It was SUCH a spiritual experience to see her turn around and start on the right path was incredible. That family has truly come a LONG WAY. I almost cried during the baptismal service. Honestly we didn’t really get to teach her a ton. The Lord just lovingly touched the heart of his daughter to bring her back to the truth.
Elder Bowers got transferred back to Los Tuxtlas! Transfers were stessful, but it turned out well! ANDDD….now I’m with Elder Ortiz! He’s a small little dude from Ecuador! He has 14 months on the mish. I really don’t know anything about him because I just met him today but I’ll let you know as I figure out more!
Elder Sonntag and Elder Hoffman are staying, so the best district that ever existed is staying united for the most part.
I’m really excited because the Elder DeHoyos is headed down to talk to us. The focus is on tithing and fasting which I think is really cool.
Bad thing that happened: I left a bag that had my baptism pants, flip flops, tie, and a shirt in a taxi………I used Elder Bowers clothes so I could baptize Joanna.
One thing I have learned this week is the balance between grace and works. I wanted to share this with you all because so many people, even in the church, are a little incorrect.
It is commonly believed that grace will be given to us AFTER all that we can do. That we do our best, and the lord makes up the rest. That is actually completely wrong. I listened to a talk by Brad Wilcox and it explains all this really beautifully. Christ paid for EVERYTHING! We don’t get his help AFTER all we can do. we get it EVERY MOMENT of our whole life. He paid the complete price. We are saved by grace. 100% saved by grace. BUT. Heres where we see another problem. Some people completely omit the necessity of works by saying we are simply saved by grace. Heres an example: Piano lessons. A kid wants to become a piano player and his/her mom pays for the lessons. What does the kid have to do? Practice. The price was paid. It’s complete. The doors are open. But the kids has to use the opportunity to be changed, to become a great piano player. We are all saved, but if we are not changed by grace, we won’t even want to be in the presence of god. When someone asks “Have you been saved by grace?” Please say “Yes, 100%.” but then ask them “have you been CHANGED by grace?” On earth we are learning heaven. We are here to be changed from a carnal state to prepare to be in the presence of god. The path is laid. The price is paid. Now we must work hard to be prepared for the next life. Use grace. Be changed. Don’t get down when you make a mistake. Piano players miss notes. Just keep going. I love you all a ton.
February 9, 2015
We have been teaching this guy for about 5 weeks named Manuel. I should start from the beginning because I’m not sure if I explained the good parts.
So one Sunday Elder Bowers and I were walking in this really dusty, really hot road. We had had a tough day. Only half of the people we expected had showed up to church, and after that ALL of our plans, back up plans, and double back up plans had fallen. We had an hour and a half to kill. We had walked a ton as well because we both forgot money and couldn’t get a taxi. Elder Bowers is really christlike so he was doing fine. But yours truly, Elder Roberts, wasn’t doing so hot. I was really frustrated and bothered and mostly just tired. There was this monster house that dominated this street we were walking down. I don’t remember why I decided to contact the house. But I remember pointing to the house without speaking, and Elder Bowers understood. We went over there and saw 4 women between ages 40 and 81. Elder Bowers started to talk to them, and they rejected us. Said that they were Catholic and didn’t want to hear our message. I was desperate to just sit down, so I told them that it was fine, all we wanted to do was strengthen their testimony of Jesus Cristo, not convert them. They said no because they were going to go shopping. In that moment I kind of lost it. I didn’t freak out or anything, but I started quoting the Bible and asking them if they believed in the 10 Commandments. It was a very bad on my part…un-Christlike. Of course that didn’t persuade them. We left and made it about half a block away when I heard “WAIT!! COME BACK!” I turned around and saw one of the Ladies poking her head out. I thought to myself “God, I’m so so sorry I shouldn’t have done that. I will most definitely return and accept the old woman whippin’ that I deserve.” So we started walking back. We finally made it while walking really slowing dreading what was coming. The lady said, “Hey, my brother inside heard you talking, and he wants to hear more.” In that moment I realized the grace and love of God. I wasn’t being a good missionary, and he sent a little lady out of her house to call us back to where we needed to be. That’s when we met Manuel. I realized we were seeing a miracle. 4 weeks later, Manuel entered the waters of baptism.
He’s the leader of this group of men called The Chamacos. They are the ones who hunt iguanas and make me buy them soda when we show up late to a lesson. They are all opening up to us because we baptized their leader. Well see where it goes. It reminded me of Kind Lamoni, from the Book of Mormon, and his people, haha. I love these guys so much. Attached is a picture of them. Jesus, Pedro, Gabriel, Zapo (that means frog), Manuel, a little kid, and a girl they found in the street on the way to the baptism. What a cool experience it was teaching him. He’s had such a hard life. But he has finally found his source of help. He gave us the biggest smile and thumps up right after he got confirmed yesterday…. those are the faces I will never forget from my mission!
My companion is awesome too! He’s a little dude. He’s such a cute little guy I love him a ton. He wears these little light blue pajamas to bed at night. Puts a smile on my face EVERY TIME. Gotta love the little things.