Friday, August 28, 2015

Ain't no mountain high enough

What a week! so much has happened.

First off. We committed Jake to baptism!!! using nothing but our supreme talent in charades and drawing. which you all know i am complete garbage at both, so in other words, the spirit is incredible. Truly. One major thing I've learned in the MTC is that depending on your own mastery of the language will get you nowhere. It's all in the spirit, and how you invite that to influence the lesson. Ah. So incredible!

Yesterday, we had our in field orientation, which was 8 hours of great lessons! but. 8 hours. Phew. it was a doozy! But, well worth it. And, as no surprise to any of you, I'm sure, a couple teachers started talking to my district, found out we were ASL, and exclaimed "Holy moly! you are the loudest ASL group we've ever seen!" I'm pretty sure deaf days and things just make me talk more on days we're allowed to talk. So be prepared when I get home, because i just may never stop after 2 years!

Now, as my MTC time draws to a close, I want to acknowledge a couple things. The Lord is real. To all those reading, I promise you, He is. In these last 6 weeks, I've seen nothing short of miracles. I've witnessed and given blessings, and experienced the holy ghost directing my words in ways I've never experienced. I've watched myself and my district grow in the gospel, as friends, and in ASL in ways that would not be possible in any other place among any other people. 

I want to bear you my testimony, that I know through the power of God, we can be made strong in things we've always considered our weaknesses. However, never, at anytime, has this transformation been easy. Just like when strengthening your physical body, it's gonna hurt. I can't help but think of Cross Country, running miles and miles further than you thought because you have a coach or friend that believes you can, and knows it'll help you. Well, the Gospel is no different. We must work, we must never give up, and we must always strive to go further than we ever thought we could. Why? because we have a Heavenly Father who has promised us we can, and has promised after, we will be stronger. I know if we put our faith in that promise, we'll be able to conquer any mountain. any obstacle. any trial. I know this church is true, and that the Lord has blessed my with my time in this amazing place to strengthen me. I love you all, and say this with the name of my savior Jesus Christ. amen.

Also, this'll be the last email for like, a week and a half because P-Days are all messed up. so talk to ya in 9 days!

Elder Roberts.

Friday, August 21, 2015

2nd to last p-day in the MTC

Well homies, My time in the mtc is coming to a close! I got my flight plans today! I will ship out on Wednesday, the 2nd of september
 to start the real work and adventure of this mission. As my time here draws to a close, words of wisdom about the mtc have come to mind.
"The MTC: a perpetual state of not being hungry, but always eating."
"When you start day dreaming about sic Four Square moves you could make, you probably aren't studying hard enough. or too hard. I've experienced both."
"There are few things that bring quite as much enjoyment as sliding down the rails of the stairs singing Mary Poppins."

I feel like these 3 quotes sum up the MTC well. 

But really, this week has been awesome!! Taught Jake, the investigator who can't sign, to have faith in Jesus Christ and follow him. We explained how Jesus helps us feel happy and comforted when we're sad by putting our thumb down, indicating we are sad, and then having a picture of jesus push our thumb up. I hope he understood. (He did. we explained further. don't worry.)

Elder Boekweg is really coming out of his shell, and is up to all sorts of sheninigans. We went to the computer lab to practice interpretting videos and talks and stuff, and we all have head phones in, except Boekweg, because he's deaf. And he starts playing this video with the sound on the highest volume. We all turn and tell him to turn it the flip down, and he just looks at us with the most mischievous smile on his face and signs "hearing problem." This is his new favorite phrase, and he uses it during fire drills when the alarm goes off and it's so loud you can't even see straight, and other such times where the gift of hearing becomes not so much of a gift.

Another update is that our teacher, Brother Featherstone, wants us to stop mouthing the words as we sign, so sometimes we wear duct tape for extended periods of time. It is not my favorite. needless to say.

Duct Tape Epidemic

had a lot of good experiences with lessons, and practice lessons. For TRC, which is basically just people come and volunteer to be taught stuff, we had these two super adorable cute old ladies, and one was so old her hands could barely sign, and it was impossible to understand what she was saying. But! A smile is universal. She was adorable, and it was so fun to teach her about prayer. The other lesson was a recently returned missionary who's name was Cody. He was a blast, and we had a lot of fun teaching him!

For choir, we were able to perform with the Nashville Tribute Band! Yes. Not only did I listen to music that had some seriously rad guitar and junk, but i was part of the back up choir to a couple of their songs, and oh man. it was sooo fun signing that! 

Cannot wait for what this next (and last) week has to offer!

Love you all!

Elder Roberts
Travel Plans

Friday, August 14, 2015

Throat clearing and teaching without any words

Well, this week has gone by crazy fast. if the whole mission goes as fast as this week, I'll be home by next tuesday. Oh man. a lot happened, like we're practicing a new song in choir, and legits, a couple Elders and I sit on the back row of the ASL section just to ensure we get a good view of the two missionaries who are in charge of leading us fight over which signs to use. It's incredible. To quote a certain Elder Tipiani "Elder Clark is like a little lamb slathered in barbecue sauce and Sister Havram is a lion." Ya. it's pretty intense. But, don't worry about Elder Clark, he's got some fight to him, too. 

We do this thing where we go full days without talking, called deaf days, and one way we ensure we don't is by putting ear plugs in. We can still hear, but it's just annoying enough that we don't forget to sign instead of talk. We did our last one on Monday, and I kept the ear buds in during lunch, and almost went deaf because chewing with ear buds in is legits the most uncomfortably loud things I've ever experienced. 
Also, when getting up to sign a prayer, DO NOT CLEAR YOUR THROAT. Everyone will make fun of you for the next 2 weeks, and you won't be able to stand up to pray without the entire room erupting in throat clearings. I tell ya, no love.

Lots of awesome experiences this week!! We had the last visit with one of our "investigators" on Wednesday, and we were able to commit him to baptism. It was so incredible. and now he's going to get married and ya. good for him. So we got a new investigator. and he doesn't speak ASL. which may sound like a good thing, but it isn't. he's still completely deaf. and he can't read. so legits every lesson will just be me and Elder Nielsen playing a giant game of gospel charades while never being fully sure that he even understands what the crap we're saying. it took us legits twenty minutes to get the point across that God is our Loving Heavenly Father. Oh man. it's actually sort of super fun, it really challenges my knowledge of the gospel, like I have to break every single idea into not just it's most basic concepts, but also find a story or picture or way of showing that idea in a way he'll hopefully understand. Next lesson is going to be faith in Christ, and tell the story of peter walking on water.

Christ Walking on the Water, by Robert T. Barrett

Madeleine L'Engle has said: “Peter was able to walk on the water until he
remembered he didn't know how” 

I received 20 doughnuts yesterday in the mail. They were gone within 3 minutes of opening them. My room has so much food that legits basically the entire floor finds their way to it after class just to chow down. It's getting out of hand. 

I love you guys! Keep up the good work!

Boekweg and Tipiani. Because One of each just wasn't enough.

Ran into a couple of my bestest buddies this week.:):):):):):):)

Elder Murray and Elder Rob erts

Friday, August 7, 2015

Miracles and Zebras

Hello friends!! This week has been so great! Oh man! Learned so much!

First lesson; being an ASL kid has got perks. like, big ones. If there is a big gathering of any sort, you have to get there early in order to get a good seat because they have to accommodate SO many missionaries. But. If you happen to be an ASL missionary, you legits walk in whenever you please, flash your badge, explain that "Oh no, I'm ASL." and they you get front and center every. time. it's seriously ridiculous. it happened in the choir program as well! they saved the ASL kids like, 30 seats! and we were able to sign along with the choir "Be Still My Soul" in a broadcast that was sent out to all the MTC's in the world! 

Now, if that wasn't cool enough, the speaker was President Nelson, and it was his first talk given as President of the Quorum of the 12! It was so amazing and inspiring. And, afterwards, I found out my debute as a television star came at least 2 years early! I was on the screen signing (hopefully correctly)! Yes, you may all  have my autograph and what not.

My name sign was changed this week. It is no longer simply the  sign for apple but with an R instead of an X. Oh no. Now, it is how you'd describe how a Zebra would eat an apple. Because my laugh has been discovered, and I get made fun of mercilessly for it. So Now my name sign directly translates to Elder Zebra Eating an Apple. Perfect. 

ASL is coming very well!! like, if you knew me before and how badly I sucked, you'd be amazed at my transformation. Miracles happen. There are no lost causes. and Heavenly Father loves you.

Prayers are answered, as seen by the huge package of food my dearest mother sent, and The Church is true. Love you guys!

Who knew Costco came in a box??

Anyways. that's all for now! things are well!

Elder Roberts

Me and Elder Boekweg.

Me and Elder Midgley

Me and Elder Daynes

Professionals. What can I say?

What Missionaries do in their spare time. (I'm lying on the ground while another elder is pushing the drinking fountain button. skill.)

Matching District. Oh man, we're adorable!!