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Transfer 11 Week 6

Dear Everyone,

    It is crazy to think that this was the last week of the transfer. It feels like it just started last week. Meanwhile, it feels like January was just a few weeks ago and it is now the Christmas holiday season. Well, that just means I have to buckle down even more and make the most of it.

    Monday afternoon I went with the Elders to Ignacio's and taught his son about the restored Gospel. He said he would pray about it and in the closing prayer he expressed his sincere desire to know if it was true. We were pretty confused at the end since he seemed to have a lot of doubts during the lesson and not that much interest. Afterward we had a Family Home Evening at Sister Lara's and she tried to teach me and the Elders how to make papusas. Papusas are an amazing food which is essentially a bean and cheese filled corn tortilla, but made in such a way that you fill it with goodness and then mold more mix over the top to seal it. They are hard to make, but very delicious. I tried, but failed pretty miserably and even dropped two of them that I was trying to mold. There was a need for coordination between my hands which I had hitherto not achieved nor tried before.

    Tuesday we had a mission tour with one of the Seventies. He came and we were thoroughly instructed for a long while by him, his wife, the mission president and his wife and several Zone Leaders. Seventies are responsible for visiting all of the places the Apostles are not able to go. We first see mention of them in the scriptures with Moses and we also see them set apart in the New Testament to assist the Twelve Apostles. The duties of the Seventies are laid out in more detail in the Doctrine and Covenants. I felt that the most important thing that I took from that conference was the importance of learning and utilizing the language of the Spirit. I pondered this morning about what would happen if all the members of the church actively invited the Holy Spirit into their homes and made it their priority to make their home a refuge from the "world". It struck me how much missionary work would be done just by non-members walking in and feeling the Spirit in the home. There truly is power in consecrating our homes to the Lord. I know that there awaits a peace and joy beyond measure to those who study and live this principle.

    That night that missionaries and I visited Vicente and he was really sick. Thankfully we were able to shortly teach about priesthood blessings and were able to give him one. He has so much faith. One of the missionaries commented that he had never had as much faith that a man would be healed as with Vicente.

    On Wednesday I went back to the Thrift Store and we went through the van full of stuff I dropped off on Tuesday. We were able to get through a lot of it. The following day I was able to have a marvelous Thanksgiving with the McNiels and then go with the Spanish Elders to stop by a few people.

    On Friday I continued sorting through a lot of clothes and such at the Thrift Store and some people came in who were doing a scavenger hunt. I had a lot of fun helping them find items and watching them take pictures of each other as proof, until they needed someone else to pose with a winter sweater. I ended up being the one to do so and that would have been fine, but they came back since the photo was supposed to include the guy in the party. So, we posed again. That afternoon a lady came in and bought that same sweater.

    On Saturday I had a really good study and then went and helped the Holly Springs Elders and the Green Level Elders switch back companions. I then went to the Thrift Store and helped out with cleaning and sorting toys. That night we had a really good dinner with the Martinez family and I actually tried the really spicy salsa. I poured salsa, lime, onion and cream in my soup and was able to finish the entire bowl. The bowl was about two times the size of the rest of the bowls. XD We then departed and went to Sister Santiago's and then home.

    Sunday was really good. We had some great talks and the other two lessons went really well. After church I had my study and took a good long nap. I was in much need of one. I then went with the Spanish Elders and we taught a couple of lessons to end the night.

    This week I have gained a greater testimony of the importance of the Spirit and of the peace and joy He brings. I know that this is Christ's Church and that through His Spirit we are able to teach and shout this message to all the earth, inviting them to come unto Christ and partake of His goodness. I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet and that the Book of Mormon is powerful evidence of this. There is so much power within its pages. I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that He has given us this life to learn, grow and prepare to live with Him forever. Jesus is the Christ, the savior and redeemer of the world. Let us praise Him in our thoughts, words and deeds this Christmas season. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

With Love,

Elder Roberts

Transfer 11 Week 5

Dear Everyone,

    This week has gone by so quickly. I cannot believe how fast time can fly by. This past week I have been able to volunteer at a few places and continue to drive the missionaries around. I started my week of service after having a study session with the Spanish Elders. I am still working on finishing the Book of Mormon again before the end of my mission. I am currently in Mosiah right after they kill Abinadi. As I was reading the sermon of King Benjamin hit me in a way it had never before done. I felt the power and testimony behind it and felt how the pure doctrine taught could change attitudes and behavior. After study I went with the Spanish Elders to the Dorcas Thrift Shop and was able to assist in volunteering there. I had to leave a bit earlier than the missionaries though, since I was expected at the other thrift store. I volunteered at the Healing Place Thrift Store and met a new friend. He and I ended up talking for about three and a half hours straight and that made the time sail by. It was nice to find someone with similar interests to talk to. I then went out with the Spanish Elders and we dropped by a few people.
    On Wednesday I went to District Meeting and we studied how to begin teaching a lesson. I know that sounds pretty basic, but there are key points that even the "old" missionaries miss. It was really good to be able to role play and increase our adeptness in this. After lunch I went to the Healing Place Thrift Store and spent the rest of my day there. We received a truck load of donations and it has been quite a task to sort through it all. As of Saturday the back room was still packed.
    On Thursday I went to the Thrift Store after having study with the Spanish Elders and spent most of my day there. That night the Elders did not need me so I ended up indexing and working on my Spanish.
    On Friday I went with the Spanish Elders and then back to the Thrift Store. That night I reunited with the Spanish Elders and we had an incredible lesson with the Vicente family. We taught the word of wisdom and Brother Vicente thanked us a few times and even shared insights on the promises found in Doctrine and Covenants Section 89. We had dinner with the Serapio family and then dropped the Elders off.
    On Saturday I went to the Healing Place Thrift Store for most of the day and was able to get through a few bags of clothes and things. That night I went with the Spanish Elders and we were able to see a few people. We were glad to find out that one of the couples that we have been teaching have decided to get married. :)
    Sunday was a pretty amazing day. I got to sing in the ward choir and then again in the Messiah rehearsal. It was a wonderful end to a good week. I felt a great love and joy as I united with the different members of the choir in singing praises to the Lord. I ended the night with the Spanish Elders and we were able to teach a family and drop by a few others.

    Wow, it is hard to believe that so much time has gone by so quickly and yet so much has happened in the last year and some. I have learned a lot and know there is so much more to learn. I have a greater testimony of the Book of Mormon and the witness of Jesus Christ that it contains. I know that this is Christ's church and His work and it will go forth until He shall say it is finished. I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Messiah that prophets prophesied would come and will come again. These things I share in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

With love,

Elder Roberts

Transfer 11 Week 4

Dear Everyone,

    It is incredible to see how fast time flies on the mission. It is so important to make each day, yea, even each hour count. This week began, for me, with a funeral of someone I knew, but did not know as well as I would have liked. I had been able to visit this Sister a few times and had heard her stories of missions and silly Elders and  a Family History missionary who wanted so badly to preach the Gospel that she went out and tried. I was able to listen to portions of her life I had never known about and look forward to associating with her beyond the veil. That night I went with the Spanish Elders to the Martinez family's house. We did scriptural charades and the Elders and I were able to act out two scenes. The first we did was Noah's Ark. Elder Duran and I pretended to be the mockers and scorners of Noah. While the faithful Noah (Elder Brown) worked on his ark (chair), Elder Duran and I pointed and laughed and danced until he got on his chair and waited. The rain came down and both I and Elder Duran were swept away into destruction. The second one we did was the story of Nephi obtaining the plates of brass from Laban. Well, Elder Duran went and tried to talk Laban into giving him the plates, but it did not go over very well. The second time we brought food and he took it and bit into it and sent us away. The third time I took a wooden spoon and played out the rest of the story and obtained the plates.

    On Tuesday I had my last day at Meals on Wheels. It has been quite an experience to deliver meals to the elderly and to see their appreciation. That afternoon I went to the Healing Place Thrift Store and then to the Temple. Wednesday morning I returned to the Temple and after a session I had my study in the waiting room.

Thursday we had zone conference and that was a really good experience. We focused on member missionary work and using our dinners effectively. Elder Chase and Elder Stanfield sang an incredible duet of "Can You Hear The Prayers of the Children" that was really powerful. Wow, I will never forget that day. I went with the Spanish Elders that night and we stopped by to check on some people. We then had dinner with Brother Foster and learned of the tender mercies the Lord had wrought in his life.

    Friday morning I returned to the Temple and then went to the Healing Place Thrift Store. While I was there a mountain of boxes were brought in. Thankfully that gave me plenty to do until it was time to go.

    Saturday I spent my time at the Thrift Store from 11-5 and then went with the English Elders to an appointment.

    Sunday I went to church and then went with the Spanish Elders.

    All in all it was a pretty good week. I have learned a lot this week about obedience and the blessings it brings. I know that this is Christ's church. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that we have a Prophet on the earth today, even Thomas S Monson. I know that he is the mouthpiece of the Lord. These things I know and leave them with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

With love,

Elder Roberts

Transfer 11 Week 3

Dear Everyone,

    This week has been an interesting one. We had a combined preparation day and the entire zone met at the stake center and played various games. Afterwards I went with the Spanish Elders to a couple of families and shared a spiritual thought. On Tuesday I joined the Spanish Elders at the Dorcas Thrift Shop and helped them with volunteer work there. That night I went to the Temple and met the new Temple President. I asked one of the workers there what the best way to stay focused on my mission was. He replied that I should remember that it only happens once and I cannot get this time back. That is very true. Time is one of the great blessings we have been given in this life and we are charged with making the best use of it. Wednesday morning I had the opportunity to attend District Meeting and was edified therein. I then went to get my oil changed and continued to the Thrift Store to volunteer. I met a new volunteer and got to know him as we worked in the back room. That night I went with the Cary Elders and we visited a few families. Thursday morning I helped the Holly Springs Elders switch back from an exchange and went from Cary to their apartment, from there apartment to Morrisville and from there back to their apartment. Afterward I went to Raleigh for Meals on Wheels and then to the Thrift Store. I tried my hand at making flan and it turned out alright. It was a little undercooked, but tasted fine. That night I went with the Spanish Elders and went on splits with one of them after we had dinner with the Ramirez family. We stopped by some people but the people we wanted to see were not there. Friday morning I went back to the Temple and felt the great influence of the Spirit. I had my study in the waiting room and was greatly edified. I went home for lunch and then went to the Thrift Store to volunteer. We have been getting a lot of donations recently and it seems that everyday the back room is full again. I was at a different thrift store on Tuesday and when I came back the next day it was packed! On Saturday we had an incredible adult session of Stake Conference. I was able to see people I had not seen in almost a year and a half and was pleased to be able to listen to marvelous counsel. We are very blessed to have the Stake, Temple and Mission leaders that we do. I had the pleasure of singing in the Stake Choir and the music really touched my heart. I felt closer to the Savior and was prepared to receive the revelation I needed. We had the general session of Stake Conference on Sunday and that went really well. I loved the Mission President's message on missionary work and how it served many purposes for him to share that. We had a baptism afterward at the Cary building for the Spanish Branch and I was able to make a dessert for the get together afterwards. I went with the English Elders that night and had dinner with one family and stopped by a couple of others.

    I love being a missionary, I love the feeling of having the companionship of the Holy Ghost and the sweet assurance that I am doing the Father's will. I am grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the cleansing and enabling power that come from it. I love the wonderful Elders I am privileged to work with and look forward to serving alongside one next transfer. I have had a wonderful learning opportunity and an opportunity to teach by the Spirit. I would not trade anything for the time that I have been able to spend here. I know that this is the work of the Lord. I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet and that through him the Lord has restored His church on the earth. The Book of Mormon is evidence of this and all can receive and answer, from God, through prayer. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that through the Book of Mormon I have a surer witness of that. He is the Messiah, there is no savior besides Him, there is no other name given under heaven whereby men can be saved. Of these things I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

With Love,

Elder Roberts

Transfer 11 Week 2

Dear Everyone,

    This week has been quite an interesting one. On Monday we had Family Home Evening with the Serapio family and we acted out scenes from the scriptures. I was Moses from when he was able to lead the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground. I love that example of revelation because many times the Lord will require us to do something that has never been done or to go a way that has never been achieved before. Sometimes we get hung up with the fact that there is a large body of water in our path, but we must remember that the power of the Lord is over all of His creations. Elder Brown was able to act out the scene of Samuel the Lamanite and how none of the arrows could hit him. It showed how the Lord will protect His servants that go forth by His word, with His authority and power. This is also a good example of how sometimes the Lord will use converts to call the members to repentance.

    On Tuesday I volunteered at Meals on Wheels and delivered on the Taupe route, which I had not done in a little while. We had a new man added to the route and it was interesting to meet him and to find my way to his apartment. The rest of my route was unchanged and pretty uneventful until I came down to the last door. This lady answered and noticed my missionary tag. She looked at my tag and looked at me and stated that "she loved Jesus too." I am grateful to know that there are people out there that have a great admiration and love of the Lord. She then asked if I had a girlfriend. I answered that question quickly and then headed back to the Meals on Wheels foundation. XD Well, I went to the Thrift Store and sorted toys which, by the way, I have way too much fun doing. I then heard the song "Eye of the Tiger" playing and it reminded me of an inside joke I have with one of the Assistants to the President since I served in his district in Durham. That will not really mean anything to you, but I wanted to make a note of it. Later that night I was able to serve at the Temple and Sister Jones made this wonderful pumpkin cheesecake, which I will have the recipe for tomorrow. After my shift at the Temple she let me have the rest of it and I was able to share it with the Elders on Wednesday.

    On Wednesday I was able to join the Elders for District Meeting where we discussed the Doctrine of Christ. We broke into groups and studied different principles within the Doctrine of Christ including faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands and enduring to the end. After sharing our thoughts and impressions that we received during our study, we solidified our understanding by lining up in the Gym. We held hands and stretched out as far as we could. The Elder at the end had hold of a box of candy labeled "Eternal Life." We then were told at different times that the person we represented stopped doing certain things e.g. repenting, having faith, being worthy of the Holy Ghost, keeping the commandments, etc. We then let go and saw the gap that was created when we miss out on a principle. After District Meeting I made rice for a few Elders and no, there is not supposed to be a tablespoon of salt. I should have put a teaspoon of salt on the recipe last week.

    On Thursday I studied over at the Spanish Missionaries apartment and then went to Meals on Wheels. At the Thrift Store, later that day, I learned how to make flan and will try to make it this week. I will tell you how that worked out in my next post. That night Elder Duran and I helped a family move into the branch.

    Friday I went with the Holly Spring Elders since the senior companion left and there were going to be two Elders who had both only been out a month. So, I joined them and we were able to meet some families in the ward and offer our assistance for future reference. One of the families wanted us to help clear out some trees in the back, but with the restrictions on tools I do not think we could do that effectively. I then went to the Thrift Store and cleaned out a lot of the back room. Though, by the end of the day, it was full again. I was thankful that the Elders were able to come by and help me, even though they only came since they needed a ride home. :D That's okay though, beggars can not be choosers. For study that morning I studied the Book of Mormon and its role in conversion, testimony, answering questions and objections and the constructing of a saint. It truly is the keystone of our religion and a Liahona for happy living. I thought about the act of murmuring a lot and remembered the words of Elder Holland on a couple of occasions. On one occasion he expressed his belief that "no sorrow or trouble is so bad that whining about it won't make it worse." On another occasion he stated that he believed that Nephi's being tied up for three days was nothing compared to the torture of having to listen to his brothers' constant murmuring. He further elaborated by saying: "he must have said, at least once, hit me again, I can still hear you." I felt a bit of that hearing people complain of their woes and sorrows and the work they had to do. I feel there is too much good in the world to see it so darkly. Even if the world is becoming worse, it is not our job to wallow in the muck of it all, but instead we should clean ourselves up and shine with the brightness of hope the Gospel brings into our lives.

    Saturday I woke up and when I was about to begin my study my folks gathered us together to inform us that our cat had passed away. Even now it is weird to not see him loafing around the house or leading visitors to the food bowl. He lived a long and full life though and awaits that glorious resurrection that is a gift to all. I went to the Thrift Store after a meeting and continued to clean out the back room. At night I went with Elder Brown to visit one of our investigator and I was able to share a quote from President Benson about putting God first in our lives. It truly is the path to peace and happiness. We then joined the other Elders and had dinner at the Infantes.

    Sunday was Fast Sunday and it was a delight to hear the testimonies of the ward members. I really enjoyed hearing testimonies of conversion and forgiveness. I know that as we forgive with charitable hearts we allow the Atonement to heal us and change us into who Christ would have us become. I then went to the Gospel Principles class where we studied and discussed the importance of prayer. I really enjoyed hearing Sister Guerra's suggestion to take 30 seconds when you wake up to take everything in before you kneel down to pray. I did try that this morning, but I think I will wait until I am up a little bit so my meditation doesn't send me into dreamland. After class I was talking with Greg and told him about the conversion of Earth time to Kolobian time and I was telling him how I had figured out how to convert it how to hours and minutes and seconds. However, when I was about to show him, it all flew from my mind. It wasn't until after I left that I figured out I had the equation backwards. For example, if one thousand earth years is one day of rotation. Then one K day is equal to 365,000 earth days. So 1/365000 = what percentage of a K Day an earth day is. This equates to one earth day equaling about 0.24 k seconds. So the average persons spends 0.07 kdays on earth or 1.68 K hours. 

    That night I went with the Spanish Elders and taught David and then visited two families before heading home. All in all it has been a really good week.

    I know that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the World. I know that He will gather Israel in again and that the seed of Abraham will come forth from among the Gentiles to be united as the covenant people. I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that He knows our needs and desires. I have a testimony of prayer as a way to learn the will of the Father and to bring our will in correspondence with His. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that it contains the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that it is evidence that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. I know that Christ's church is on the earth again in its fullness with the priesthood and ordinances necessary for salvation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is that church. I know we have a Prophet on the Earth today, even Thomas S. Monson. Of these things I testify, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

With Love,

Elder Roberts