Monday, July 17, 2017

What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgements, which the Lord our God hatch commanded you?

We had MLC this week, stinking good meeting. President Peterson owns
it. haha seriously, it was awesome to see him get up for the first
time in a Mission Leadership Council and just wreck. One of the best
councils i've ever sat in on, because he just brought up everything we
do and take for granted and made us all question it, really figure out
why the heck we do what we do. 

He said a quote that really resonated
with me "as soon as we start checking boxes, we stop doing it the
Lords way." Meaning as soon as we do things simply to do them, they
lose their power. 

It actually reminds me a lot of a scripture in the
Old Testament, Deuteronomy 6:20-25. We can do everything right, but
honestly the doing doesn't mean much. Helping us to remember the why
is exactly what Moses was doing in this scripture, helping the Hebrews
remember what the purpose was behind the Law and the Statutes. I love
the reminder he gives in verse 21-25. We are all bondsmen, not
necessarily to pharaoh, but regardless, God truly has shown many
miracles, the greatest of which that makes all other matter is the
sacrifice of his Beloved Son. 

That's why we live the lives we do.
That's why we give up 2 years to serve a mission. Why we don't drink
tea, coffee, or alcohol. Why we attend 3+ hours every week of church
meetings. It's simply because God saved us, and asked us to. And may I
just say, there is no doubt in my mind when Nephi speaks of "living
after the manner of happiness," this is exactly what he's referring
to. Keeping the commandments WITH the understanding of WHY.:)

Mason passed his interview yesterday. Super sick. Going to get
baptized this Saturday. WHOOP!:)

Love y'all.

Elder Roberts

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bishop Martinez

Mar 26 2017

Sisters Barton and Roberts

I've had the supreme pleasure of being having your fantastic young men in our ward. They just left our home after leaving a great message with my family on fasting.

They are great young men. They work hard, care deeply, and love their mission and the Lord with all their hearts. You should be very proud of them, I am. Thank you so much for sharing them with us here in Texas. We are blessed for having them here.
Enjoy the picture, 

Sincerely Bishop Martinez

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Weakly email. (Yes. Weakly, not weekly. Sorry.)

Jul 10 2017

Hey Howdy!

This week was crazy. It's actually weird to think back at the events that happened at the beginning of the week, they feel like ages ago.

It was zone conference week, President Peterson was able to meet all the missionaries! He's legits the man. Taught us about high expectations, and so much more. Seriously. I'm going to learn so much from him! Haha!

Elder Bailey and I taught Sunday School on Sunday about families. It's amazing how quickly conversations about families invite the spirit. Seriously. It was awesome. Even in YSAs, people love families!

Something interesting I've been noticing in the Book of Mormon as I've been studying it is the necessity for work. All of the amazing people inside the Book I always figured were just studs from the beginning, which is partly true, but every last one mentions how much they labored, and not just once, but the phrase "labored diligently" is one of the most common phrases I've seen so far! So much goes undone simply because people don't want to put in the work.

Anyway. Sorry this email is weak.

Elder Roberts

Frisbee squad!

District meeting.

My little bear cub.:'D

Mort is back.:D

Jacob 5

Jul 3 2017

This week I've been studying Jacob Chapter 5. So needless to say, it's been a good week! Something about reading the prophecies about Gods plan to gather his people gives you new eyes to missionary work! And boy, did the Lord provide!!

Like, 4 huge miracles took place this week.
One came at the sacrifice of a turtle. Sounds weird, but we hit a turtle in our car on accident, and we pulled over to see the damage. It got munched. It was super sad. And funny. Anyway! As we're standing there, a security guard of the building we're by comes over and asks what we're doing, and we explain that we killed a turtle and were leaving soon, but she was fascinated!! And then she was fascinated with us being missionaries! And then we taught her the whole restoration! And then she wants to get baptized!! Ya. Pretty stinking cool.
Another one, our good friend Matthew accepted a date for the 29th of July! And then insisted on coming tracting with us. Legits this kid has only come to church twice, and he's out on the streets knocking on doors, and flipping rocking it. It was so sick!!!! He loved it!! He wants to go on a mission!

This, and many other instances this week feed my testimony of the truthfulness of the sculpture in Jacob 5 that says "if ye labor with your might with Meyer shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself..." 

Truly laboring with the lord brings the greatest joy I've ever experienced. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the surest way to find peace, and its such an honor to be a small part!

Love y'all!

Elder Roberts

Love these fellas!!

This spider we gave battle to.

Selfie with the dead turtle! (My rippling bicep is covering it.)

This is a song of Hope.

Jun 26 2017

Hey Howdy!

Well. This is President Mortensen's last week. Tomorrow is his last MLC. I cannot believe it. On Friday President Petersen will fly in, and there will be a couple hour time when the two titans will counsel, and then President Mortensen is off. Pretty stinking weird. President Peterson is going to be the man, though! I cannot wait to meet him!:)

This week, some of my closest friends from the mission went home. Pretty spooky. 17 of some of the best people I've ever met, and I started to realize just how incredible the Gospel is. How amazing it is that something as simple as faith can lead us to desire to become better, and more importantly, hope that it's possible. It's easy to want to be great, but greatness is won only by daily fighting in the trenches of life. The drudgery of daily deciding to put the mistakes of yesterday behind, and look forward to something better. This what faith really is. When Alma says that faith is "to hope for things which are not seen, which are true." When we follow him, this becomes so much more than hoping Christ is real. Faith doesn't mean we're crossing our fingers through life HOPING it's true and following blindly. It's the knowledge that Christ is truly the Son of God, and that helps us find hope that the daily battles, the inches won, and the miles lost in the conquest for righteousness really will end up being for our gain, and somehow one day, the war will be over and the victory won. I was able to see the byproduct of that kind of faith in these missionaries. Teenagers who became men of God by clinging to the knowledge they have that Christ will provide, and letting that fill their souls with hope equal to the task at hand. 

I'm so grateful for the Savior, and the hope he brings to me. I love being a missionary more than anything, and cherish every moment I've been given to serve.

Love y'all!

Elder Roberts

I'm so glad when daddy comes homes!

Jun 19 2017

Elder Bailey and I gave talks on Sunday on fathers. Super fun. We were speaking companions with a future missionary giving his farewell!! So neat. Throw back... haha. Anyway. This Monday I have zero time. So here's my talk. Much love.

Elder Roberts

Howdy!! What a wonderful opportunity it is to be here, especially to be soon to be Elder Bowen’s speaking companion! I’ve been here in the Wonderful Glen Loch Ward for a good minute now, and this fine young man has impressed me from the moment I met him as a valiant Son of God who is ready to take upon himself the name of the savior for the next 2 years! 

Today i’ve been asked to continue speaking on Fathers. It’s funny, i don’t think there is a young man, adult man, or old man alive who would feel qualified to give such a talk. We can talk all day about how incredible mothers are, but somehow, i don’t think there is a father alive who feels qualified to be a Dad. May i start this talk right of the bat by saying that in the time i’ve been here, which isn’t much, i’ve been so very impressed with all of the fathers and father figures in this ward. This fact is especially notable in a world like today, where the way people view fathers has become increasingly more comical, and extremely less vital. 

The Family: A Proclamation to the World clearly states that 

“fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” 

So shock you as it may, fathers are expected to be good for a little bit more than a good punch line now and again. King Benjamin does a fantastic job at describing this role as well in Mosiah 4:14-15. 

14 And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.
15 But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.

And i’ve seen each of you rise to the occasion, to become the Priesthood Leader and Father that our Heavenly Father would want you to become.

And, if i may, I want to let everyone in on a secret. Had it not been for righteous fathers and father figures in my life, i would not be standing before you as a representative of Jesus Christ today. It’s actually a little spooky to try and imagine where/what i would be doing. From what i’ve seen, there is really just one trick to being a dad, and it’s to be a father, whether or not you have children. This sounds weird, i know. I came from a family of 8 children. I sometimes try to imagine what this must have been like for my poor parents, especially knowing what a rebel rouser i was. But honestly, with 7 other siblings competing for time, it wasn’t nearly as frequent as i would have liked that i got the good ol’ father son one on one time. But, because of the goodness of God, he provided me, and provides all of us, with countless others to fill this role that is honestly impossible for one man to do perfectly. So when i say be a father, this means that every male who is foreordained to hold the priesthood, which means all of us, has a responsibility to be a father figure to everyone, i like to think of this as a not so typical application of President Uchtdorf’s famous “lift where you stand.” 
A few examples come to my mind of people who did just this, and maybe a couple key characteristics that stand out to me from them of good father figures.

Sacrifice Daddy:
As i said, i come from a family of 8. I was astounded to hear the first time my mom told me about all the things my dad gave up to have a family. Things i always took for granted. I can remember growing up, my dad would purposefully leave change in his pockets for us to find while he slept, sacrificing his own lunch money. Of course, i never realized that that’s what he was doing. When I think about my father, I remember the countless times he humbly, quietly put my needs first, and his needs 10th. Compare to what King Benjamin said.

Winning Hearts Brother Brown; staying up late at high adventure, long car rides, stories about mission, goofy stuff about girls, and after released, inviting us over on sundays to eat pretzels and jell-o.

Taking an Interest Hoody; being the supportive and listening, really listening, footlocker story, as well as mission help.

High Expectations Sam Wood; expecting the best, and holding me to it. Beauty doesn’t happen naturally.

Charity Brother Twitchell: loving, caring. Always watching out for us, and sacrificing so much. Cooking at all camps, providing a place for us to bring a date.

When people say it takes a village to raise a child, they mean it. I stand as a witness that despite the inadequacy we all feel to bear the title the Most Powerful Being in the universe chooses to be called, that he has chosen you. Despite your weaknesses and shortcomings, the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ will enable you, and i know that each of you have had experiences when his matchless sacrifice has already carried you past where you thought you could go. I’m grateful to be counted among those that our Heavenly Father has given this sacred mantle, and know that serving a mission and representing the Lord himself is the single best training anyone can go through to become a righteous father, and know that Jackson will be a great example to everyone in Los Angeles!

Love y'all! 

Elder Roberts
This is Elder Lopp. He's the man.

Anthony Brown and I!:)

Agents to act and not to be acted upon

Jun 12 2017

If there is one thing I've learned the last 6 months, it's that we can effect the outcome. In the Book of Mormon, it truly outlines the Plan of Salvation, and teaches us this very principle! Specifically in 2 Nephi 2, there are ideas introduced that revolve around agency, and our ability to act. It explains that everything comes with an opposite, kind of like Newtons law of motion about every action has an equal and opposite reaction. There is happiness and sadness. Joy and misery. Freedom and bondage. For every blue there is an orange (contrasting color, right? Maybe?)

Along with the idea of opposition in all things is the concept of things being able to act, and those that are merely agents to be acted upon. Each and everyone of us has many obstacles and trials that provide us the necessary opposition, often times these come in the form of temptations, but equally as often they come in the form of less than sinning weaknesses, such as not wanting to wake up in the morning or having a really hard time saying no to ice cream. No matter what it is, GOD HAS GIVEN US TO BE AGENTS TO ACT! Meaning we have within our power everything necessary to say no, to choose the right, to act in accordance with what God would have us do. 

It's so easy to see the way something is going, be it grades, the world, our bedrooms, whatever and deciding it's the way it is, and we can't do much. NO. The only way we fail is not by failing to reverse the trend, it's by not doing anything to do so. By accepting that it's the way things are and there is nothing we can do about it we are giving up the God given right to act for ourselves and make a difference. 

This has been especially evident to me recently. As a mission and personally in elder Bailey and my area, we've struggling with getting people to Church. Everyone who's served a mission knows the struggle. Haha but every week, President hits it harder, thinks of what else we could do, never ever accepting that where we are is where we need stay. I've tried to take this into my own personal life, and elder Bailey and I have worked our little buns off to try and act for ourselves and manufacture opportunities. And they all fell through. HAHAHA! But the lesson? God blesses those who try, and the ones we planned on coming couldn't last minute, but out of the stinking blue, 2 people showed up of their own accord, and have the desire to want to come closer to the Lord. A reminder that our attempts are futile, but somehow, He magnifies them to accomplish so much more than we even think.

I cannot begin to describe the gratitude I feel for the Savior, and His help in the mighty work of cleansing and perfecting His children!

Love y'all!

Elder Roberts

Moment of reflection.

Jun 5 2017

Sometimes, weeks just fall apart and everything you expected to happen doesn't. You know what's cool though? Broken plans make room for unexpected miracles! Yay!!:)

For one, Mandy is going to be able to start coming to church!! Her baptism is next weekend, the 17th, and it's gonna be so grand! 

Another miracle, we met with a family we first talked to a while ago, they're from Utah, are not Mormon, but love missionaries enough to holler at us from across a parking lot and let us come in! Haha! Anyway! We were finally able to meet with them again, and flip. It was so great. We were talking about the sacrament in Luke 22, the bread and the water, and they have a little girl who is 7 years old who is wild. I opened up the children's New Testament with all the pictures so she could read the same story, and she finished it super fast, so she went on my notes and started drawing. Hahahaha priceless.:)

As kind of a conclusion to our every Sunday fast thing we've been doing, this last week, we had a missionwide fast of gratitude. Holy smokes. I had never done something like that before, I mean, I like to think I'm a grateful feller, but let's be real, I'm quite the blessing guzzler with very little thanks. It was super neat to take a moment, and recognize where we were as a mission, in our area, and personally in myself. The Lord truly has been so generous. I think we're a little bit preprogrammed to always look for what we lack or what's going wrong. Taking a moment to recognize what we have and how far we've come is a blessing only allowed to us because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the best time to do so is while partaking of the Sacrament. What a blessing it was to fast this weekend, as well as to teach that family about the privilege it is to truly push the reset button every single week and have another go, being more committed to be a hair better than last week!

Love y'all!

Elder Roberts

House of the Lord

May 29, 2017

Elder Bailey and I got a ton done this week. Probably the coolest thing is the amazing little Indian family we met yesterday, though! They remind me so much of Mani and Dhan, and it's even crazier because as they read, and pray, they could super easily be ready for baptism in July. Which will be a year after Mani and Dhan's family! Kinda crazy how my first year and second year are so similar in a lot of ways. Hahaha anyway! We met them after a long time knocking to no avail. Fourth floor last door anyone?;) it was pretty dang cool. 

Something I've been thinking about, in our mission, we have started this awesome thing called "Faith Meets Families" which is basically a giant initiative to get all of the recent converts to the temple within a month of their own baptism with their own family name. A scripture I found in 2 Nephi 14:6 gives us a promise to all those who make attending the temple a priority. It describes the tabernacle, which was the Moses version of the temple, being a place of refuge and protection. 

This initiative has been a HUGE testament to this scripture! All of the Converts I've had that have gone to the temple are able to withstand all that comes. There is no coincidence that as the world is getting more universally miserable, God has inspired our prophet's to make Temples more universally accessible. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and the spirit and promises of the temple are Gods ace in the hole to combat all the craziness and lack of integrity found in the world. 

Love y'all!

Elder Roberts

Exchange 1 with Krispy Kreme:) love this elder! Served around him forever, and every time I learn so much from him!!

The crew.

Exchange 2! Throw back to Inwood!:D

Rise and Shine!!

May 22, 2017

This week was pretty stinking great. for one, we were able to play ultimate frisbee, and this time it was with the Old folks in our family ward!!! it's kinda weird being in the ysa so long and having all those obviously athletic people that can out run, out catch, and out maneuver you, and you can justify it because they're young, and i'm a missionary, so it's not a big deal. it's way harder to justify when it's 40 year old fellers whoopin' ya... but hey!!! still dang fun! and if i'm more motivated to make good use of my morning exercise time, win win win:)

Other than discovering the extent to which i'm out of shape, we saw a ton of miracles!!! Just another quick fasting miracle: it's 9 on saturday, meaning we're done tracting an apartment complex, heading home before curfew, it's dark, rainy, and a wee bit spooky. when out of the darkness: a voice! saying "could you use an umbrella?" hahahaha we look around and barely see a lady from her balcony! we come closer and tell her we're fine, and it's not even raining THAT hard. haha we continue talking and discover she'd actually grown up in utah, and knows all about the church! Pretty cool! we asked to come up and meet her whole family, and she has an adorable little daughter who is 7 and draws very good elephants and penguins. i have proof. super amazing family, and cannot wait to go back again and meet em!!! i know that the only reason we were blessed to find them was because of the trust we've put in the Lord by the way we've been fasting. we found them legits less than 3 hours after we started the fast, and i know that the series of events that lead up to us being there at that moment were truly inspired!

other miracles, a little 11 year old boy got baptized this week! he is being taught by the sister missionaries, but 3 weeks ago, he approached me and in the most hilarious way asked if I'd do "the dunkin' stuff" at his baptism! his 11 year old way of asking if i'd baptize him! what a miraculous day!!!:) he didn't wanna stand up for the picture though... so... that explains that.

I absolutely love the book of second nephi. time and time again, it uses imagery of sleepiness/alertness. it's pretty amazing to read and recognize these symbols in my own life, with the people around me, and more often, in myself. Sleep is probably my greatest weakness ever. back home it'd take nothing shy of a game of ultimate frisbee to get me out of bed before 7. of course, on the mission, i've learned to sacrifice the comfort of sleeping in, and recently it feels like sleeping at all, 6:30 comes awful early. anyway. To be asleep is to be content, comfortable, and, in short, more a less a symbol of the natural man. again and again, Nephi, Lehi, and Isaiah command, beg, and advise us to "awake, awake!" what does this mean? to awake spiritually? this week, we met many people who knew full well what they were doing was wrong. and knew full well we could help them. they probably even knew full well that they should accept our help, because it would bring them greater happiness. why then did we not bring dozens of people into the safety of covenants this week? because of the simple truth that changing is a lot like waking up really early in the morning. it takes work, and honestly sorta stinks. it takes a great amount of foresight, a lot of trust, and probably a little bit of craziness the first couple of times to truly believe it's worth it. i highly doubt very many people even read this far into these dang emails anymore, but if you've made it this far, i can promise you, waking up to what the Lord has in store for you will NEVER be easy. It will never come as or when you expect, sort of like our alarm clocks in the morning, but just like every new day, Christ's call to change, to awake, to become better comes. and if you head it, I can promise you one more thing, that you will never be disappointed to follow the call of the Savior, and even if it comes as two goofy fellers in white shirts drenched in sweat knocking on your door. listen. it could be the Lord.

Anyway. love y'all!

Elder Roberts

David and us!

Katy District meeting! Elder Hill, my little bear cub, is the district leader!!!:') they grow up so fast. 

Temple trip!:)

The other exchange

Matching with this strapping young man!

"Outlines the Plan of Salvation"

May 15, 2017

This week was transfers, which is always fun. We actually had zero missionaries go home, and only one come in, which was odd. This coming transfer though... hahaha not quite so lucky! Lots of turnover in the summer.

A ton happened other than that, but probably the thing of most importance was a lesson I learned whilst teaching. Crazy how that works, right? It's super true what it says in the Doctrine and Covenants about teaching by the Spirit means the teacher is learning just as much if not more as the student. Anyway. We were teaching the Plan of Salvation to one of our wonderful investigators in a little bit of an unorthodox way, by just reading 2 Nephi 2 with her! Holy flip. The Introduction to the Book of Mormon teaches that the Book "outlines the Plan of Salvation," and in 2 Nephi 2, it truly does. It's all there. I'll share just a snidbit of what I learned while teaching Barbara!

The first couple of verses, as it should when dealing with the Plan, are all about the life, sacrifice, and resurrection of the Savior, or in other words, the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The only way any of us are saved is by the grace of him who is mighty to save. However, the next verses teach a principle about this atonement. The need for opposition. No one is saved by the laws or commandments, that is, no one can possibly be perfect. No one is going to be able to save themselves by merely listening to the commandments, so why have them? If God didn't hold us to a standard, aka the commandments, we wouldn't need his Son to help us reach it. 

Now does that mean the commandments are just there, and Christ will throw each of us up to them no matter what? To quote Paul "God Forbid." Just like any high jumper will say, if you choose to never jump, no matter how much technique, practice, or even help will ever get you over that bar. That's where our agency comes in. 

We must choose to jump, choose to try to get over, and that's when the atonement of Jesus Christ will lift us over, even if the bar is 13 feet and the best we've ever done is 1 inch. It's not about what we can do, it's about making the effort to try.

Love y'all! 

Keep trying, and read your scriptures so you can have cool things happen, too!

Elder Roberts

Went on an exchange with this Elder! Named Elder Dayton. Seriously such the man.

Umm... is this really Texas...?

President blowing the new missionary's, and our, mind. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Given themselves to much prayer and fasting.

May 8 2017

Whatta week!!! We had MLC, which was super duper good. Learned so much about planning. It's funny, i think i've talked about this before, but the longer i'm a missionary the more i discover how much hinges on planning. of all the things i've learned on my mission, i think this is the one that the Lord has emphasized the most, because before my mission, i was probably the worst planner in the whole wide world. and now i'm probably like, the second worst. but hey. progress!

also at MLC, president invited all of us to start fasting from saturday at 6 to sunday at 5 every week in May. Elder Bailey and I accepted the invitation with the promise that we would see miracles. holy smokes. boy did we!!! here's a few:

1) Maddy was able to come to church this week, which is super duper great. she's so dang awesome. she's been going through some hard things, and she texted us sunday and was like "i'll be there tomorrow, i need some peace." to which elder bailey and i fist pumped. she gets it! haha! super great, and all of the testimonies were tailored to her! it was pretty sweet.

2) A guy named Ryan came to Aaron's baptism, and one of his friends gave us his number, and we texted it like a month ago and he never responded. then, this sunday, HE CAME TO CHURCH!!! YAY!! out of the blue!! and he wants to start learning more seriously and mentioned he feels like God has kept leading him back to the Church, and it's time for him to start to listen. so sic.

3) We were bound to find 6 New investigators this week. Which is pretty doable, except by Saturday we had 2... uh... haha! but i kid you not. sunday rolled around, we had an hour after church, dinner, and everything else, and bam. the Lord provided. we met a ton of super cool people, and are meeting with them very soon!!! super cool.

So basically, the lesson to be learned from this week is that the promises found in Isaiah 58, such as "loose the bands of wickedness," "Thy light break forth as the morning," and "then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, HERE I AM." Truly an amazing experience, and i cannot wait to continue to develop my testimony of fasting the rest of this month. it's gonna be great! I can promise each of you, that depending on the Lord truly does bring miracles, and that fasting is one of the best ways God has provided in order for us to truly learn how to lean on him.

Y'all rock. thanks.

Elder Roberts

Top golf! Stinking adorable family! The girl in the orange is a recent convert, and the one by me is her mom who is about to get baptized! Pretty swell.

Went to top golf today! never been before! pretty fun!

Isn't nature beautiful???

Tried to make a lady in our ward who just had a baby cookies... discovered we didn't have any bowls... used a frying pan... after we cooked a tortilla in the frying pan... not the best move, but it worked.
Look at this massive stinking spider!?!?!

First spanish district meeting!! Clearly a little high strung...