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Transfer 5 Week 1

Hello Everyone!

    It has been quite a week. I returned to Cary on Tuesday and after dropping my bags off in the foyer I headed out to assist the Spanish Elders: Elder Chupin and Elder Chase. We had a marvelous time catching up and in teaching investigators, both old and new. The focus of our week this week has been preparing Demaris' fiance for baptism. The Spanish Elders had finished up teaching the final lessons while I was in Kinston so we just went over the interview questions so he would be prepared for them the next day. On Wednesday I had a great District Meeting with the Spanish Elders in the Cary District wherein we shared missionary experience and learned ways that we could be more effective servants of the Lord.
    In my study this week I came across an interesting thought in Alma chapter 55 wherein the Nephites have captured Gid, a Lamanite city through craftiness. In the verses following this capture, namely 30-32, the Lamanites attempt to poison the Nephites by sending them wine that contained poisonous elements. However, the Nephites were not caught in this snare, the reason stated being two-fold. One: they were not slow to remember the Lord their God in this their time of affliction, and Two: they would not taste the wine until they could gave some to one of the Lamanite prisoners to see how it affected them. This made me think of all of the ways the great tempter and deceiver tries to poison us with the things of the world. They seem attractive at times, but at the core they contain poisonous elements. The way we are able to avoid these poisonous and oft times deadly temptations are also two-fold. One: we remember the Lord our God. Remember His commandments that He has given for our benefit and we will be able to discern between that which is edifying and that which is degrading to our physical, emotional and spiritual health. The other way is to look at other people who have partaken of those temptations. If it poisons them, it will poison you. Just a thought.

    The highlight of the week was by far the baptism of Junior. He has come so far since the time we first met him, over 6 months ago, till today. He has overcome so much in such a short time and I know he will be a wonderful addition to the Spanish Branch. I played prelude (sortof since I only know two hymns on the piano) for the service while the Spanish Elders gave presentations on the Restoration. We all went to the cultural hall to witness the baptism and as soon as he came up from being immersed I felt a strong witness of the Spirit testifying of the validity thereof. I am so grateful for the priesthood authority necessary to perform saving ordinances.

    I know this Church is the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth today. I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God and that Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet of God on the earth today. I know that the priesthood authority was restored and that it plays a huge part in the salvation of God's children. I know that I am a child of God. I know that He knows me and loves me personally. I know that we are all children of our Heavenly Father. Each and every last one of us, from the top of the corporate ladder to the bottom of the line. Remember that. No one is better than the other. Not one is any less precious in His sight. The worth of every soul is great in the eyes of the Lord, for "[He] suffered death in the flesh, wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him." I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is our savior, our redeemer and our friend. No matter what you have done, His arms are continually outstretched towards you. For it is not God who turns His back on us, but we who turn away from the Lord. These things I know. Faith, Hope and Charity, each attribute augmenting the other in the perfecting of the saints. Let us march forth, building grace upon grace, until our work here is done. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

With love,

Elder Roberts

Transfer 4 Week 6

Dear Everyone,

    It does not feel like the end of the transfer; these past six weeks have gone by so fast and I have learned so much. This past week we found out that our area is being closed to Spanish work. My companion took it really hard and we spent most of the week preparing for that event. We updated the area book (a book that lists the areas, potential investigators, previous investigators, progressing investigators and all other information that a missionary transferring in might need to know to work effectively), taught a few lessons and prepared our investigators to be handed over to another set of Elders. It has been an interesting week...

    This week though, I found out my purpose for being here. We went over to this lovely family's house and had a wonderful dinner. I fit right into the family and we talked about a variety of subjects: English history and literature, gospel doctrine and other fine conversation. Then came the question: "Do you really feel that you can make it into the Celestial Kingdom?" (The Celestial Kingdom is the Kingdom of God, it is where God lives and His Son Jesus Christ). It touched my heart because I had wondered that same thing and even though I tried my best and even though this fine sister and her husband had tried their best, they still doubted their ability to enter into their Heavenly Father's presence once more. It was with great joy that I was able to share the message of hope. To enter into the Celestial Kingdom, in the lowest level therein, one must only keep the first principles and ordinances of the gospel, namely: Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins by one holding the proper priesthood authority, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands and enduring to the end. Everyone who does their best to keep these simple principles is on their way home.

     "The Gospel is easy, life is hard." That is the beauty of the Gospel, that is the beauty of the love and mercy that God has for His children. He's not trying to trick us. He has provided the way for us to return unto Him and partake of a joy beyond measure and we have but to follow it in faith with the hope that He will keep His promises. He has called prophets, apostles, pastors, teachers, evangelists and so forth to teach these great principles and with proper authority to perform the ordinances necessary to salvation and Eternal Life. He has provided families for us to be nurtured in and taught, He has provided the light of Christ, our way of knowing good from evil, and Agency, our ability to choose between the two. Most of all He has provided a Savior, someone to take upon Himself the sins of the world that if we would but repent, turn unto Him and follow His example, we could be saved. My testimony is that Jesus Christ is that Savior. He atoned for all the sins of the world and paid the price for us, if we would but follow Him. The odds truly are stacked in our favor.

    I am so grateful for the hope this gospel brings not only in my life, but in the lives of all those around me. I am grateful for the truth that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, that we have divine identity and eternal potential. I am grateful to know that we are never alone, that even if everyone in the world turned us away, there is one who would not and will not abandon us: Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am grateful for the changes the gospel has helped me make in my life through the refining fire of trials and promptings of the Holy Ghost. I am grateful for my faith in Christ, the foundation of my life and His love. Most of all, I am grateful to share that message with all those I know and love. I know this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is the  church of Jesus Christ restored through a modern day prophet, Joseph Smith. I know that he did indeed see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that we have a Prophet on the Earth today, even Thomas S. Monson. I am so grateful to have a church built on the rock of revelation. A living Church, one that breathes and speaks and feels. These things I know and I leave them with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

With Love,

Elder Roberts

Transfer 4 Week 5

Good day to you all!

    I cannot believe that it is already February! Time passes so quickly in the field. This week has been pretty interesting with Zone Conference, the snow that we received on Saturday and the Winter Devotional we held on Sunday due to the other meetings being canceled. This past Zone Conference was, by far, one of the most spiritual ones I have attended during my mission. The Conference was focused around member missionary work and how we could get the members more involved. One of the members of the Raleigh Stake Presidency spoke and explained about how bad of a member missionary he was. He recounted a couple of experiences where the missionaries had extended an invitation to him to engage in missionary work and he accepted and was edified therefrom. However, once the missionaries were transferred out and the next missionaries who were transferred in did not invite him, he ceased to do the work. This highlighted how needful direct invitations are, because people are not likely to work unless they are invited to. Another interesting point he brought up was while he was sharing a spiritual thought within a role play with President Cotterell. He started sharing the vision of Lehi and focused primarily on the tree of life. He talked about how it is the love of God and further explained that it is the most desirable and precious of all fruits. He then explained that when we feel that love we find a balm that heals all wounds and we come to understand the Atonement and that we can always repent and turn our lives toward God once more. We feel how much He loves us and that becomes what we strive to feel each and every day of our lives. Everyone has the right to feel that love. It is our job as members to share with them the ways to help them fully experience that love. I know that as you share the gospel you will bless the lives of others and receive great blessings in your own life.

   On Saturday we woke up to snow. We tried to get our car out but ended up having our Ward Mission Leader take us to the church to clean  the church for the following Sunday. However, the icy weather caused the meetings to be canceled that Sunday. Undeterred, my companion and I put together a Winter Devotional and had the missionaries from our area attend. It was mainly a joke when we were first putting it together, but in the end it fell into place so well and each and every piece was inspired, from the order of the people sharing spiritual experiences to the special musical number. :D I am so thankful that we were able to put something together. That afternoon I was able to go over to the Walkers and make monkey bread for them and then have dinner at the Bishop's house. To close out the night my companion and I gave a blessing to an investigator to prepare her for her surgery this week. All in all it was a pretty amazing week.

    I know this church is the true church of Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost bears record each time I attend, whether it be a ward of 100, a branch of 40 or a group of missionaries seeking to be edified one to another. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I have come closer to God by reading that book and following the doctrine and principles therein than by any other book. I know that the Bible is the word of God and it truly testifies of Christ and His ministry. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Redeemer and Savior of all mankind. I know that He lives and guides this church today. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he did see our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of God and the only man authorized to receive revelation for the world. These things I know. I leave them with you in the name of our Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ. Amen

With love,

Elder Roberts