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Transfer 3 Week 6

Dear Everyone,

    It is the last week of this transfer and the last week of this year! So much has happened this year! I've been out for almost 4 months and what an experience it has been. I've served in 4 areas besides Cary including: Rocky Mount, Henderson, Raleigh (Spanish) and Goldsboro. I do a wide variety of service including temple work, volunteer work, proselyting, and family history work. I have learned so much in the areas I have been in and have met some pretty amazing families. I am happy to be back in Cary again and look forward to many wonderful experiences.

    I was studying the book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon this week in chapters one and two. In chapter one it states the significant difference between the Nephites and Lamanites and states the importance that scriptures have had in preserving the Nephites' civility. It is interesting to note that the industry and society of the Nephites spring out from their desire to know and follow the things of God. In chapter two I noticed the gratitude present among the people of King Benjamin toward their God, including their gratitude for protection and for providing just men to teach them. This reminded me of the wonderful teachers that I've had in my life including but not limited to my parents, my quorum and institute teachers, and even my seminary teachers. Through their diligence and example I have learned so much. The next piece talks about the people preparing to listen to the discourse of King Benjamin. To start out they set up their tents and face them toward the temple. Literally this shows their willingness to listen to the words of King Benjamin, but figuratively it is a turning of their hearts or desires toward the temple or things of God. King Benjamin exhorts the people to have open ears to hear him and also an open heart to understand him. Having a heart open to understanding means a heart open to receive the promptings and revelations of the Holy Ghost, without which nothing of God can be understood. One of the obstacles to having an open heart is to have a heart set on the things of the world. Laman and Lemuel are a classic example of this. Laman and Lemuel had their hearts set on the precious things they had to leave in Jerusalem. Because of this their hearts were thus hardened to the things of God and even after appearances of heavenly beings they remained in spiritual darkness. It was interesting to me.

    Christmas in the field was an interesting one. My companion and I ended up over at the District Leader's apartment and we started a game of Monopoly. Elder Richards and Elder Harmon were the banker and realtor respectively. We also played by the rule that you had to pass go to begin purchasing properties. Well, everyone except me ended up in jail before they passed go and Elder Harmon ended up there 3 times before he finally made it through.. That's okay though, Elder Richards and Elder Harmon were embezzling money and properties the entire time anyways... XD It was quite an experience. We woke up on Christmas day and went to IHOP with one of the members of the ward. Elder Richards and I ended up staying at the apartment most of the day due to our lack of appointments and the fact that people do not want us tracting into them.... I returned to Cary on Saturday and was glad to see Elder Rees and Chupin again. :)

All in all it was quite a week...

With Love,

Elder Roberts

Transfer 3 Week 5

Dear Everyone,

    This week has been quite an amazing one! The Spanish Elders and I have been able to work with several families this week and bring them the blessings of the restored gospel. This has definitely been a week of miracles. ^^ I am so grateful to be serving with such wonderful missionaries and among such a sweet people. I have learned so much this week, mostly concerning faith and the light that faithfilled learning can bring. I've gained a stronger testimony of Jesus Christ and His divine mission, along with a greater desire to share His marvelous gospel. His Gospel truly is a gospel of hope. A hope of a better world, a better life and an increased ability to face trials in life. It is a gospel of change: changing from old to new, better to best, winter to spring and ultimately death to life. His gospel brings new life to our spirits and knowledge of our divine origin, purpose and destination. It envelops us with the comforting knowledge that we are sons and daughters of a Heavenly King. How precious is that knowledge in a world where our value as individuals is so violently oppressed? How wonderfully motivating it is to know that God is a God of love, mercy and compassion coupled with justice, knowledge and virtue. To know that He wants our best and is more than willing to help us along is as a breath of life to those struggling with sin and doubts. Faith, Hope and Charity the triad of Godly virtues leading us onward into a greater light... Oh how sweet....

    This coming up week is one of special note. It is the week wherein Christmas is observed by the world. It is a time set apart to look back at the birth of our Savior, redeemer and friend. The one who through His perfect life and atonement taught us the doctrines of love, sacrifice and obedience to a higher law. He healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons and blessed the lives of countless individuals. His life was freely given. He lived not for Himself, but for His Father. During this week let us emulate that spirit, that devotion, that sacrifice and love that so characterized the life of the Messiah. Let us reach out and heal those who lie broken hearted, those who hunger for the bread of life and thirst for living waters. Let us put aside our wants and minister to those in need. Let us follow the admonition of our Savior and visit the imprisoned, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, yea let us go about doing good, thinking of no reward... I know that service rendered is never a waste. I know that as we reach out to serve we are only in the service of God. We are doing what He would have us do. What greater cause is there, than to do the will of God?  May we all gain a greater testimony and a fuller appreciation for just how much our Savior has, does and will do for us and show our appreciation by following His example in blessing the lives of those around us.

    Jesus is the Christ, He was born in humble conditions in the town of Bethlehem. He grew in knowledge and bit by bit He gained a testimony of His mission on this earth. He lived a perfect life, unspotted from the  sin that so shrouded and still ensnares this world.. He was baptized of John to "fulfill all righteousness" and went about doing good. He called and ordained 12 apostles to go forth and preach the gospel. He healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out devils... He was despised, rejected, betrayed and condemned on false charges. He was beaten, tortured and finally crucified... Three days later He rose again. This is the message of hope.. He lives! He overcame the bonds of death and sin for all of us, if we but repent and come unto Him. :D
 This is my testimony, Jesus is the Christ.. He is our savior, our redeemer and friend. He is our advocate with the Father. He is the Way and the Light. He is the rock of salvation, the Lamb of God, and the great I AM. I know this. I pray that all of you will continue to grow in your testimony of Jesus Christ, His divine mission and redeeming love.

With love,

Elder Roberts

P.S. Happy Early Birthday Amy! :D

Transfer 3 Week 4

Ello Everyone,

    I am so happy to be back in the Cary area! Being in Goldsboro was a great experience and I look forward to returning, but there is nothing like my home ward. I had the honor of working with Elders Chupin and Rees once more and the work has been pressing forward quite nicely. Their first reactions were 1. Excited to have me back and 2. "You look chubbier." Oh well, I'm glad to be back.  While I was gone one of the investigators I had been working with got baptized! :) Damaris has been such a great addition to the branch and she has been bringing friends to church each Sunday! A few of them are also close to baptism along with a couple of families we are also working with. We also tracted into a member who had not been to church in 20 years! We were guided to her and have been able to invite her back to church. :) I love our bountiful blessings. :D Another large part of week has been helping set up the Creche Display at the Stake Center. Every year for at least since I became a member about 4 years ago, we've had a huge display of nativities accompanied by various musical talents concluding with the powerfully majestic Handel's "Messiah." I have had the pleasure performing as a part of a couple of different groups over the years and this year was no different. However, most of my time was not spent performing, but in setting up and taking down the various components of the Creche celebration. ^^

    As for me personally, I've been a bit sick since last Monday which was getting better until Saturday morning when my health declined again.. Accursed winter illnesses.... Lovely... Besides that though, my week has contained innumerable blessings.

    I love my mission! I've been out for 3 months and a week and it feels like it has gone by so quickly. I don't know if it is because of the amount of areas I've been through or the depth of focus that is required or just the sheer excitement to be out here that is causing it to slip by so suddenly. Sadly I've heard it only goes by quicker as you go along. On to happier thoughts though... I'm glad to have at least 15 more months of this.

    One of the great things that I have learned over the past few months is to be proactively happy. Even when things do not seem so great or when everything seems to be falling apart, putting forth effort to remain in a hopeful, faithful state knowing that there will be difficulties, but looking at them as opportunities to grow. I have found it to be a great blessing in this work, especially when the highs and lows can come at anytime. I know that my having a sure foundation or faith in Christ has given me stability in an otherwise unstable environment.

    The gospel of Jesus Christ is such a comfort, the simple but profound principles therein are such a blessing. Faithful applications of this gospel knowledge is the key to receiving wisdom and in progressing in happiness in this life and in the life to come. These things I know: The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and mankind can come closer to God by abiding by its precepts than by the precepts of any other book. It is a second witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ and of His sacred mission. I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God and that through him the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in its original state once more. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ is the restored church of Jesus Christ on the earth today.  The Gospel truly is a light.. It illuminates the human mind and enlarges the soul, it casts out demons and shapes those who follow it into better people, enabling them to overcome the worldly and march on in a more excellent way. Jesus is the Christ, He lives and continues to guide His church through modern Prophets and through modern day revelation. This is my testimony, in His name, even Jesus Christ, Amen.


Elder Roberts


Transfer 3 Week 3

Ello Everyone,
    I have had quite a week this week tracting and biking in the rain XD. There were some positive highlights though; one of them is that we set a baptismal date with one of our investigators for late January! Another is that we are helping another investigator to stop smoking. We taught a lesson about how sincere prayer can help ease burdens and strengthen us against temptaions. We commited him to praying every morning before he did anything else, that way his mindset would be turned away from that craving and focused on more uplifting substances. We taught another investigator about the true miracle of forgiveness and how if we truly repent and strive to do better, God will remember our sins no more. It is a truly uplifting principle that edifies and motivates one away from the pondering on and misery of past mistakes, to pressing onward, taking care of what needs to be taken care of and simply moving on. The Gospel truly is a beautiful creation.
    My time in Goldsboro is up for now though. I'll be heading back to Cary for a couple of weeks and then heading back here for Christmas. We had a pretty sweet Christmas party here with a play and really nice food. A lot of people brought friends and I think it was a great experience for them to see that we do celebrate Christmas. Last night was a wonderful example of that. The First Presidency's Christmas Devotional was a great example of how Christmas should be: a holiday where the busyness of commercialism and impulsive compulsive spending give way to the simple, but profound spirit of service and love. I especially love the story of how the business man gave his ticket home to a young soldier who may have never seen his family again due to his being deployed to Vietnam shortly afterward. It is the random acts of kindness and charity that really make this season special.  
I bear my testimony that Jesus is the Christ, the light of the world, the Messiah testified of in the Old Testament and the Son of God. He was born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth and after 3 years of healing, teaching and selfless service accomplished the Atonement: the single most important act of love without which the world would be in its lost and fallen state forever. He was then illegally tried, convicted and crucified unto death, but rose again on the 3rd day. It is my testimony that He lives, He lives and guides this Church through a modern day Prophet, even Thomas S Monson. He lives so that we might come unto Him, walk the path that He has shown and partake of blessings beyond our comprehension.  I know that He lives, I know that He knows and loves each and everyone of us, regardless of our backgrounds, our race, our mistakes, our imperfections and philosophies. This is the testimony I give, in His name, even Jesus Christ...
Elder Roberts