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Transfer 3 Week 2

 Ello ello,
    This week has been an incredible one; we've had a baptism, a few new investigators and heard a recently converted family give talks in sacrament meeting. Again I've found myself learning that the most discouraging events will occur right as miracles are around the corner. I found myself writing a poem today, which I haven't really done in awhile, but within that piece of literature I wrote that all seasons change, meaning that seasons of sorrow will change to seasons of joy and vice-versa. In this life we have trials, disappointments, heartaches, betrayals, missed expectations, but as we patiently endure and courageously press forward with faith we will make it through the clouds of despair and into the bright dawn of realized dreams.
    To those worn down by constant affliction: be of good cheer, these trials will surely come to pass by, if not in this life, then the next. To those who have lost a loved one: find peace in the truth that death is but a beginning, not an end. The beginning of new life and of rest from worldly sorrows and cares. To those who have gone astray:  know that the Atonement is real and that you can repent and again find peace. To those who have sheep that wander: continue to love them, be patient with them and look for opportunities to serve them.
    We did a lot this week, I got to know my companion better, we helped burn a lot of underbrush and stuff at Eagle's nest, including an organ (Matthew would probably have a heart attack hearing about that), got to know ward members better, had a great district meeting, had a powerful first lesson at the Melton's, had a wonderful Thanksgiving and ate way too much food XD, gained a greater appreciation for my blessings, Helped a Sister in the ward move, biked and tracted (knocked on doors) a lot, had another incredible lesson and gained two new investigators, and had one of the most amazing Sundays I've had so far. I Love Sundays!
    I will now touch on some of these events in detail:
First off we went over to the Melton's to teach them the first lesson. As I bore testimony of and shared the First Vision I felt the Spirit bear strong witness to the truthfulness thereof, which strengthened my own testimony and the testimony of my companion. For Thanksgiving we played a nice game of "touch" football, wherein people ended up with fat lips and in much pain for the rest of the week.. go figure... My companion and I had Thanksgiving lunch and dinner at two different homes, so we definitely got enough to eat. On Saturday we tracted into David and Doris and they invited us in, which never really happens.. most of the time it's either "we're not interested," "go away," or "I'm saved, I don't need to know anything else about Jesus..." Thankfully though they not only invited us in, but gave us a chance to actually say wat we needed to say. They were genuinely interested and it was amazing to watch the Holy Spirit work a change in them as we stated pure doctrine in response to their questions. It is indeed true that "True doctrine understood changes behavior quicker than the study of behavior changes behavior." I have see this in my own life when I have been confronted with behaviors or attitudes I have had that have been in need of a change. As I have studied the doctrines of Christ I have not only gained motivation to change, but that motivation has come from an inward desire to do so instead of an external source. This is important because you may not always have that external source of motivation, but you always have yourself.
    That brings me to Sunday, my favorite day in my mission (for most missionaries it's Monday...), It started out with baptismal preparations including, cleaning the font, making sure that the people who needed to play piano and whatnot.. We then went to Sacrament meeting and got to hear from the Hartzells. They are the recently converted family I mentioned earlier. We then had a Gospel Priniclples class on family responsibilities and a combined Priesthood and Relief Society on ward mission work and how we can all be missionaries! That is something I am definitely looking forward to in life, being a missionary my entire life and not just for my two year mission. I hold to David O' McKay who stated "Every member a missionary!" We then prepared everything else for the baptism and at 6:15 PM Kathy was baptised. :) Elder Richards and I were able to share the message of the restored gospel with those who attended the baptism and bore strong testimony of the First Vision and the restoration of the priesthood authority.
    We ended that night with a Stake Priesthood meeting which touched on the importance of teaching pure doctrine and getting your home teaching done. My favorite part was the fact that my first companion Elder Anderson was there and that he let me know that some people we had worked with had been baptised and later confirmed just recently :D I was so happy to hear that. Uncle Charlie is going to be an amazing member :).... A shout out to him and Tiffany :) Congratulations! I know that this is just the first step of many on the straight and narrow path to lasting peace and happiness. I also heard from him that there were going to be a few more baptisms in the future... :) It's always great to hear about progress in areas I used to work.
    Well, I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Elder Roberts
P.S. To comment or communicate with me my email address is tenchi30401@gmail.com
P.P.S. for my physical address communicate with Brother and Sister Everett.

Transfer 3 Week 1

Dear Everyone,
    I'm in Goldsboro and am now serving with Elder Richards in the Goldsboro 1st ward. This week has been an interesting one full of rejection, introductions, triumphs and falls. We started out by shopping for food and ended our day with much tracting. I learned an interesting piece of doctirne, actually several pieces of doctrine, from an Elder Cox. He made the interesting connection that we, as Elders, are working under keys of teaching, but not of finding.. We don't have the keys to find... It is actually the members who operate under those keys. That doesn't mean we are going to stop tracting/finding though, someone has to do it. :)
    On Wednesday we had a very interesting district meeting involving an activity where we walked blind folded while a group of angels and a goup of demons tempted/encouraged us to either heaven or hell. I almost ended up in Hell, but at the last moment stopped and pondered. An "angel" appeared and took me by the shoulders, after leading me over a wall of chairs/trials I ended up safely in heaven. Not the most doctrinally sound district meeting, but interesting nonetheless. We also talked about the temptations of Christ and how one of the main goals of Satan was to get Jesus to doubt.. He does this in each of our lives by instilling doubt of correct principles by posing an "if" statement, just as he did with Christ. "IF, thou art the Son of God..." The Pharisees used the same when Christ was being crucifed, basically, if thou art who thou sayest thou art, lift thy self down. To combat this onslaught of doubt we must put our faith in a sure foundation, one that will not change. We must put our Faith in Christ and hold unto that faith, for He is the way and the Light of the World. Those who follow Him need not walk in the darkness of doubt, but with a brightness of hope.
    As I have gone through this week I have remembered that counsel, to doubt not and press forward with steadfast faith, and it has strengthened me and helped me to gain an even stronger testimony of Gospel principles. One of the greatest blessings I have found is a deeper appreciation for the truth and testimony I do have. I am grateful to have the wonderful blessing to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it has blessed my life exceedingly and filled it to the brim with joy and purpose. Whenever I am in distress I know where to look for relief, for guidence and for comfort. I know whom I serve and am grateful for the opportunity to do so. I am grateful for the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and for the opportunity I have to share that enabling atonement with those around me. I am grateful for the restoration of simple truths and for the leaders of the church. I am grateful for Joseph Smith and his sacrifices in building up the Kingdom of God on the Earth. I am grateful for modern day prophets and how their guidence has directed my life toward Christ and His teachings. I am grateful for personal revelation and how it has directed me to make righteous choices. I am grateful for the Gift of the Holy Ghost and how it has guided me and testified of truths, I am grateful for the process of repentance for when I have not adhered to His promptings as well as I should have. I am grateful for the opportunities I have to improve and gain greater knowledge in this life. I am grateful for a loving family and for the sacrifices they have made that I could serve the Lord. I am grateful for their endless patience with me and my many faults. I am grateful for friends that uplift and ward members that have become family to me. I am grateful for the endless love of my Heavenly Father and how He has stuck with me through my hard heartednesses and stubborn times and has humbled me on countless occasions. XD God is real... He knows and loves each and everyone of us personally, despite our flaws, despite our weaknesses, despite our rebellious stages, He loves us and waits everso patiently for us to reach out and take the hand He offers each and every one of us. He has provided a more excellent way for us to follow, even His Son Jesus Christ. As we follow the example that He has set for us, as we seek to glorify our Father in Heaven and follow His will in our lives, we will begin to fill that void in our lives, we will find that peace, joy and stability that is such a precious gift in this world of unstable values and war.. I extend that offer to each and everyone of you. "Lengthen your stride," come and see the wonderful blessings of the restored gospel in more abundance. I know that as each and every one of us draws closer to our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ, we will draw closer to one another in unity of purpose and in joy.. I leave my testimony that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the church of Jesus Christ restored again on the Earth, and that the Book of Mormon is the truest of any book on the Earth and that mankind can draw closer to God by abiding by its precepts than any other book. I leave this testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ
Elder Roberts
P.S. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
P.P.S Happy late Birthday to Emily and Elder Rees and Happy Early Birthday to Mary!

Transfer 2 Week 6

Dear Everyone,

    This week has been a most interesting week. I have again enjoyed the company of the Spanish Elders and have delighted in the opportunity to serve alongside them. We met with this one family and since our other appointments canceled on us we ended up watching The Restoration, Joy to the World and Faith in Christ while waiting for and then partaking of a most delicious dinner. On Tuesday we met with another family wherewith we taught the first discussion. (see note 1). We also had a really nice lunch at a member's house earlier that day. On Wednesday we had a neat discussion with a less active member and on Thursday we taught another First Discussion to this really sweet family we found through a referral from a member. On Friday we had a really good correlation meeting and came up with a good number of ideas to increase missionary work among the members of the ward, we then had dinner at one of our progressing investigator's house. On Saturday I volunteered at the Library and was later able to accompany the Spanish Elders to Demaris' house and then to Sister Lara's. At Sister Lara's we watched Special Witnesses of Christ and bore our testimonies to the family and friends there. We then had dinner at the Santiago family's house and following that had a wonderful kindof First Discussion with this one fellow who ended up bringing his entire family to church the next day. :D On Sunday, my favorite day of the week, I went to both English and Spanish church meetings. In Elders' Quorum we discussed prophets and how wonderful it is to have a Prophet on the Earth today, even, Thomas S. Monson. Especially at a time where the world on such shaky foundations. Afterwards I went with Elders Espinosa and Rodriguez and we ate at a member's house. On Monday I went with the Spanish Elders to an appointment and we watched "Special Witnesses of Christ." Afterwards we bore strong testimony of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon. I added my testimony thereof and also that God sometimes asks us to do hard things, thing that we don't feel strong enough to do, but He will always provide a way for us to accomplish those things which He has commanded us and as we do those things we can grow and progress. I went to the temple on Tuesday, Wednesday and on Thursday night. This week was missionary week at the Temple so there were many Elders there every time I went. I ended up getting a chance to speak with the mission president and received an assignment from him.. I'm being transferred to Goldsboro, NC for 2 weeks and will return here for 2 weeks, then I will head back out on December 21st and stay till the end of the transfer.

    In my study this week I've been focusing on The Book of Mormon. I've had some insights on the cycles of Doubt as opposed to the cycle of Faith and I would like to share them. Using Nephi and Laman and Lemual as opposing examples I will expound on this. When Lehi, their father, prophesied of the destruction of Jerusalem and took them and fled into the wilderness, Nephi and Laman and Lemuel reacted in different ways. Both groups received the same directive or commandment from their father, but how each of the groups reacted varies. Nephi accepted and as he obeyed and sought to know if what his father was doing was right he gained a greater testimony that it was, which led him to gain greater faith to do even greater things. Leman and Lemual, however, doubted their father, complained most of the time and did not seek to know whether or not their father was indeed correct. Because they did not seek or act on their father's words or in other words exercise faith, their faith did not grow.  The cycle of faith: commandment given or truth presented>>>> action taken: asking, seeking knocking>>>> testimony strengthened>>> faith increased>> greater ability to follow commandments. The cycle of doubt: commandment given of truth presented>>>> action not taken, or negative action taken: slothfulness, procrastination, complaining, rebellion>>>> testimony diminished>>>> faith decreased>>> ability to follow commandments diminished. Just an interesting thought..

    Well, I'm getting transferred today, I look forward to serving in a new area and meeting lots of new people. I hope that each of you have a wonderful week and that you are able to accomplish all of the things you have set before you.

    I leave my testimony that this is the Lord's work, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Church of Jesus Christ in the Last Days. It is Christ's Church. I leave that testimony with you in His name, even Jesus Christ. Amen

With Love,

Elder Roberts

Note 1: The first discussion contains simple, but truths leading up to the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ in the latter days. It begins with how God is our Heavenly Father and we are His Children, it continues and teaches us that He loves us and knows us individually and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can help us become like Him and can strengthen our family relationships. Heavenly Father reveals this gospel through Prophets (Amos 3:7) and they in turn teach it to the people. Sometimes the people accept it and enjoy the blessings thereof, other times they continued in their ways and even persecuted and killed the Prophets. When the people were too wicked and would not listen or began to twist and pollute gospel principles and truths they fell into a state called apostasy, or falling away. When Christ came to the Earth, He taught the Gospel and called Apostles to go forth and teach it to all nations. The Church of Jesus Christ began to be established on the Earth... However, the people began to reject and argue over some of the simple truths of the gospel, and the Apostles, which had the authority to preside over the church, were persecuted and eventually killed. This lead to the Great Apostasy, or the famine prophesied of in Amos 8:11. Because of this apostasy or falling away from the truth of the gospel, there needed to be a restoration. A restoration of the authority and of the Fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is my testimony that this restoration has happened. In 1820 a young boy, Joseph Smith was wondering which church he needed to join, for they all had their different doctrines. He had read Ephesians 4:5 which states: One faith, One Lord, One Baptism... He thought that there should be one church, one doctrine that would apply to all mankind. Having not been able to find an answer he continued to attend the different churches and one day came to a verse in James. James 1:5 which declares: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally and unbraideth not and it shall be given him." No other verse had hit him with such power. His answer could not be found by an appeal to the man, because men were so at odds with one another on the same scriptures.. So, he had to ask the source of all truth, God. So, one early spring morning he retired in a wooded grove near his house. It was here that he found the needed solitude to open his heart to God in reverent prayer. In his own words, this is his experience: "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.... When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him." God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith. As I have borne my testimony of the reality of that appearance I have felt the undeniable testimony of the Holy Ghost, even the comforter spoke of by Christ in John 14:16, bear witness that these events are indeed true. Joseph Smith was called as the First Prophet in these the latter days and through him the Church of Jesus Christ once again began to be established on the earth, never to be taken again. Another powerful witness is the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is a translation of an ancient record of the people on this continent and their activities here. It is another witness of Jesus Christ and testifies of His divinity. You can know if this is true too. Just as Joseph you can also pray to know. You can feel the powerful witness of the Holy Ghost and have the Gospel change you life as it has mine. I know this Church is truly the Church of Jesus Christ in the latter days. I know that as you search, ponder and pray, or act upon these things that your testimony will be strengthened, your family relationships strengthened  and you will receive a witness in as much as you ask with a sincere heart with a true desire to know the truthfulness thereof. I leave all these things with you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

Transfer 2 Week 5

Dear Everyone,

    First off, I would like to thank those who are reading; I am grateful that I have this opportunity to share my experiences with you. ^^ Mission life is interesting as always, and this week especially held a few surprises and many learning opportunities for both me and the other Elders. Zone conference was held this week and I was able to wake up extremely early to drive two other Elders and one member to Chapel Hill to attend. It was quite the learning experience. We learned how to focus on teaching doctrine and principles instead of focusing so much on the application. I spent the rest of my week with the Spanish Elders and also with giving service in the Temple and at Meals on Wheels. We had a lot of success this week in both finding and teaching new investigators. We found two wonderful families who are now being taught the Restored Gospel ^^ I was so blessed to be able to participate in teaching both of them. One of my greatest blessings this week was that one of our investigators has decided to enter the waters of baptism! Yay! :D It is decisions like that, decisions to take hold of the outstretched hand of the Savior, that make all our work worth it. I went with the Garner Spanish Elders this week too, I was able to bear my testimony on how reading and abiding by the principles of the Book of Mormon bring us closer to God and help us to overcome problems in our families and to find greater love for our fellowmen. On Tuesday I woke up with my allergies acting up and mistakingly thought I had gotten sick, so I called in to Meals on Wheels to let them know I could not come for fear of getting the Elderly sick. Thankfully I was able to go on Thursday though! ^^

    This week I learned a lot and I'm pretty jumbled at the moment trying to piece it all together. I learned to be more grateful, even when I have a headache and everything is going downhill. I learned that the night is darkest right before the dawn. That no matter what happens, it is important to stand up for what you believe in and never give up. It is more important to love than to be right. Take baby steps when teaching. Song truly is a type of prayer. We all have a million reasons to smile.

    I hope you will all forgive my shortness of writing today. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

    I leave you my testimony that this work is the work of the Lord and it will go forth. I testify that God loves each and everyone of you and He knows what you are going through. I know that as we reach out to Him through prayer and obedience to His commandments we can come closer to Him and partake of a marvelous and wonderful peace. I am always touched by the story "Footprints in the Sand" It reminds me that we will never be left alone.. I know that we will never be left alone in this life and that there is always someone reaching out to you. It could be a family member, a friend, a random stranger or just the guy who always smiles and waves to you on the way to work. I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are on all of God's children and that as we look for them we will find them in abundance and grow in our own testimonies of His love for us.

    I am grateful for this opportunity to serve and look forward to continuing to do so.

With Love,

Elder Roberts

Transfer 2 Week 4

Hello All,

    This week has been quite an interesting week, as you all know I started a bit early with my work this week by heading out with the Spanish Missionaries early Monday afternoon. On Tuesday night I went to the Temple and on Wednesday I had my first normal day of the week.

    I started Wednesday morning with a trip to the lovely Temple in Apex. I would like to take a short moment to express my testimony of Temples. I know that they are the House[s] of the Lord, the peace, beauty and sheer majesty of them is a testimony of that in and of itself. I know that if one takes the time to just sit outside of one they can feel that peace and spirit that resides there. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve there on a regular basis and feel the strength, peace and joy that comes therefrom.  In between sessions (two in the morning and two at night) I shelved books at the library and had luck in finding books that had been thought to be lost. I also found out that one of my friends was a member. My excuse for not knowing is that she was in a completely different stake. I also had a couple of really good conversations about what my mission is and how it is a little bit different from the usual missions that 19 and 21 year olds embark on. On Thursday I delivered meals for Meals on Wheels and caught up with on of my potential investigators there. She had read the restoration pamphlet and I recommitted her to reading The Book of Mormon! ^^ I am so very grateful to have this gospel to share! I later went with the Spanish missionaries to Apex and we had quite a time tracting. We had a couple of people who were interested and hope to return there soon. On Friday I went back to the temple again and also to the Library. I had a way sweet conversation with one of the Librarians about family history and he told me about how he had done a large chunk of his family history and was glad to have access to the original paper records. That night I went with the English missionaries and we had a good time talking with a less active. On Saturday I went with the Spanish missionaries for most of the day, but we were counseled to get indoors before dark due to the festivities of Halloween. It was weird to not celebrate Halloween at all this year, but it was definitely worth it. Sunday was a pretty good day. We had fast and testimony meeting and were able to hear the testimonies of the members on the truthfulness of various principles of the gospel and how simple they really are. Many times we try to over complicate it, but the truth is that the basics can be understood by children. "Do your best and leave to the Lord the rest." I know that as I have followed the true and simple principles of faith, obedience, repentance, prayer and work I have found a fuller sense of joy and peace in my life.

     I am grateful to know that I have a loving Heavenly Father who knows me personally and loves me despite my weaknesses. I'm grateful to know that He sent His Son, even Jesus Christ to provide a way for me to return and live with my Heavenly Father. I am grateful to know that the Church of Jesus Christ is again on the earth and that a Prophet of God presides over it, even Thomas S. Monson. I am grateful for Joseph Smith and his valiant life and testimony. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon and the source of wisdom and support it has been to me. I would exhort all of you to renew your commitments to study, ponder and pray about the Book of Mormon. For those of you who have never read this book, I would challenge you to pick it up and give it a serious read. If the testimony of the millions of lives that have been changed, the families that have been strengthened and the wounds that have been healed because of this volume of scripture is not enough reason, I hope that my testimony of how it has changed my life and those around me will be. It has lifted me from a life of pain and misery into a life of hope and joy. I have seen families draw closer, addicts gain the strength to overcome, and those who already had a relationship with God find themselves even closer through this book. I know that all of you can experience these same miracles in your own life. Why? Because of the truthfulness thereof, because of the true and simple principles taught therein, because it is a tried and true way... For those of you who have read it before I hope that you are finding time to read it daily. It will be a constant reminder of who you are and your relationship to God, Jesus Christ and those around you. I know that as you strive to live in harmony with the teachings therein, you will have a constant source of strength and purpose in your lives. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

    I hope that all of you have a wonderful week and that you have enjoyed reading these updates.

With love,

Elder Roberts