April 6, 2015
Its been a very interesting week. We worked harder than last week but saw a similar result. Its okay, I’m positive the Lord is testing our faith now because we are trying to do everything we can.
I enjoyed the 1/4 of Conference I did see. I really don’t have a lot to comment on because we didn’t see much, so when the magazine comes out I will comment on that.
Elde Ortiz and I did a lot of practices about being direct this week and being fearless. We had some really cool experiences. We are truly preaching the gospel boldly. As long as we kept the spirit with us, we actually saw a lot of positive effects.
This week I dedicated my study to the Gospels and the story of the Resurrection. Of all that I read, one line in Luke really called my attention and I would like to share my thoughts on it. It’s when Mary is by the tomb and finds it empty, and the angel says to her (forgive me if this is wrong, I read it in spanish) “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but he is risen.” I LOVE THAT SO MUCH. We can apply that to our lives so easily. Many people worship a dead Jesus Christ with a dead faith, full of doubts and hesitation and tradition. We need to recognize that Jesus Christ is living. We need a lively, active faith in him with a real relationship with him! A real relationship is only developed by action, just like with any mortal being. It’s the same here. We cannot expect to receive blessings as we seek a dead Christ. Yes, he died. That’s really, really important. He took upon him all of our sins, and iniquities, and problems, and doubts, and imperfections. And then he died. He gave his life for us. But it doesn’t end there by any means. He didn’t take on the world and then fail. He rose. He conquered. And he lives. By following his example we too will find relief. We too will find our life. But, we must ACTUALLY FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE. His Atonement will give us the remission of our sins, and help us overcome our weaknesses as well, but we must accept it through action. I love my Father in Heaven for sending his son. And I love his Son for what he did for me. He is my savior. The Holy one of Israel. Only in him and through him I can do all things. I wish you all a happy Easter, and invite you all to remember what he did. Then, allow that remembrance to effect a change in your hearts sufficient to stir action.
April 13, 2015
What a cool week! It was a rough one too. So this week we had interviews with President! It was soooo cool I learned so much.
I sat down. I looked at him. He looked at me.
“Elder Roberts! How are you?”
“Hows your obedience and your companion?”
“Theyre both in line and doing well!”
“Good to hear. Elder, what kind of missionary are you?”
That really hit me hard. I love how direct he is. He gave me a minute to think and as I thought, I felt impressed to mention to him some things I could improve. Of course, I mentioned them to him. He is such a genius. I told him that I’m working really hard and that I’m getting a lot better at teaching and the language, but sometimes because of that progress, I trust too much in myself instead of God. I’m glad I told him that too. My first reaction was to tell him “I’m a good missionary! I work hard!” But how would I improve if I set aside the whole truth.
Side note to understand the story: As a mission we are reading 2 chapters of the BofM and marking where it says Jesus Christ and the Atonement.
He then asked me:
“Where are we in our reading?”
“Finished Mosiah 10 this morning.”
“Very good.” He then whipped out Mosiah 10, handed me a scripture, and told me to read it. That very scripture told me exactly what I needed to do to trust more in the Lord. Not a specifically chosen scripture, but one from the VERY READING WE DID THAT VERY DAY. He then asked me questions and my understanding enhanced. I asked questions. He answered my questions with more questions. At least 3 times during the interview he would answer my question with a question, and it would leave me there without anything to say, my doubt completely satisfied, and pondering in the complexity of his answer. It was…awe inspiring. I learned more from the way he answered my questions than what he actually said.
He then told me that we needed to double our number of lessons with recent converts and less actives. And get a reference from every single one. If we did, we would double our number in church and progressing and with baptismal date. We procrastinated that decree a bit. On friday night we had 11 lessons, and needed to hit 20. We made killer plans. We planned out the day. Watched the video of John Tanner to get pumped during companionship study. And we set out. We pounded out 13 lessons that day, and that included losing 2 hours with the food because the hermana wasn’t ready when we got there. It was AWESOME! Changed my whole perspective of what it means to work hard. And the promise was fulfilled.
The prospects were grim going into Sunday, but some people we never imagined would actually show up all made it to church that week!! It was really cool. I felt so blessed. And I have worked a lot on trusting more in God.
So my question for everyone who is reading this email is as follows: What kind of latter day disciple of Jesus Christ are you?And then: Say a prayer. Open the Book of Mormon. Find out how to improve. Then set a goal to make it happen. Do it. And watch the blessings flock in.
WE WERE SOOO TIRED THIS WEEK! Oh my word. I remember my companion telling me that he was going to go to the bathroom at the beginning of companionship study. The next thing I remembered was him waking me up on the floor. That happened twice this week. He’s been tired too. We credit such exhaustion to the time change, the arrival of extreme heat in Tierra Blanca, and to our new, more celestial work ethic. What a week. What a week.
Love you all! Elder Roberts
April 20, 2015
This has been a great week. The ward is finally getting excited about missionary work down here because we brought a good number of investigators and a BUNCH of less actives to church this sunday. It was really cool to see the members swarm around them with immediate support and approval for the less active members faith to return to church. We are on the hunt to make sure they stay.
My companion has improved SO much this week. We did a lot of practices about how to be direct with people. He took that to heart and is even more direct than me now. When we contact, he challenges to baptism. When we meet someone, before starting the lesson, I’ll usually say something like “Look, the most important thing is that you go to church, you read what we give you, and you pray. We cannot convince you of the truth of these things. You have to act for yourself and exercise real desire and repentance before the Lord to help you with (their problem).” Then my comp without fail comes in and says “Exactly. We are here preaching repentance and baptism. You need to be baptized, and that is our first goal together. Would you like to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized?” (remember, this is before we teach anything) More times than not, they actually agree. It’s a unique way to teach, but this way we find people with real intent, and we do it in a spirit of love, so it actually works. Being direct is priceless. If we aren’t direct with people it means we don’t want them to progress and we don’t truly love them.
We had a really cool lesson with a less active named Vicky that went to church on sunday. We talked to her about her favored circumstances and how the Lord sees her situation, has blessed her, and just wants her to follow him. We saw a change in her eyes as she was filled with genuine gratitude for the blessings she’s received. It reminded me of the amazing talk by King Ben in Mosiah. That also made me realize the importance of gratitude. If we are truly grateful, we will always turn to the Lord, and therefore repent, and therefore retain a remission of our sins and return to live with him. Be grateful. Especially in your prayers. Thats my quick thought for the week. Love you all. Now go and love the Lord through faith and action.
April 27, 2015
So I’m now in a new area! I’m with my new comp named Elder Villanueva. He’s from Bakersfield California so we are going to be representing California good and hard down here. I was on a bus from 630 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. We FINALLY made it to my new area, Loma Bonita. It sounds like a great area….just needs a little more excitement from the missionaries. Apparently its in Oaxaca (its weird to not serve in Veracruz) but 50 percent of the people say its Oaxaca and the other 50 say its Veracruz. Who knows.
It was very very difficult saying goodbye to such an amazing ward in Tierra Blanca. Such a great group of people and I loved them so much. I feel really grateful for everything I learned there. Every transfer I’ve learned so much about the church, and life, and myself. I wish I could meet the young Hugh 9 months ago. I’m pretty sure he’s a lot different.
I think one thing that I need to improve that I may have lost a little in my other area was charity, or love for the people. I was a lot more focused on just helping them improve and be better, instead of loving them how they are, and then loving them even more so they get better. The power of charity is immense. I’m going to be putting it in practice this week as I get to know all the members and the very few investigators we have.
I’m really really tired and feel a loss of words…. I’ll write better next week. I love you guys a ton! Its great to hear you are all doing great. Know that I’m doing just great as well. Also these computers here in Loma Bonita aren’t quite as cool as Tierra Blanca….its very possible you will not receive a picture from me for 5 months. We will see what I figure out.
Love, Elder Roberts