Monday, August 29, 2011


29 August 2011

Dear Homefront,

Here is my official declaration of personal safety and survival of both the earthquake and the hurricane - both of which were my first.

There was no damage to my appartment, my personal belongings or our mission vehicle. We were asked to stay in our apartments all day Saturday, and we didn't have anything but scriptures or napping to do. It was a long day. The only damage Elder Beardall and I had was that a limb of a tree broke off and fell against our front door. We were lucky - there was a family in the ward that had a tree fall into their house, breaking through the roof and an upstairs wall. There are many other service opportunities around.

As for the earthquake, it came while we were driving to an appointment. We were stopped at a light, and at first I thought it was just the car having trouble. Then I realized that we weren't the only thing shaking. It was actually kind of funny to us.

I also have some other good news, I am now in the process of buying a bike. I'm buying it through the mission from a missionary who recently went home. It is black and silver with a lock, fenders, new tires, air pump, forward and rear lights, helmet, leg band, and bike frame mounts for all of the above. Total cost: $150. It's a Treck Alpha 4 series 28 speed bike - usually valued around $400-600.

As for the goody box, I recently recieved one from my companion's mother (I'll be sending a nice thank you letter for that), but goody boxes and care packages are always welcome. My companion is a little health crazy so there's not too many good snack items around the apartment.

Other than all of that, the work is proceeding as normal. Service to our fellow man and inviting others to come unto Christ.

Elder Roberts

PS: Could you please send me that small yellow zippered tool kit I had? Just thinking about it, I've wished that I had it a couple times. I think I last saw it on the mantle.

Friday, August 26, 2011

storm update

All of our missionaries who are south of Richmond have been evacuated inland with the exception of Jamestown, Williamsberg, and New Kent which are all far enough inland that they will be safe. The ones who have been moved are bunking mostly with other missionaries, some at the mission home, a few at members' homes. They will probably remain there for the weekend. The storm is supposed to reach us sometime tomorrow (Saturday) night. We expect lots of wind, rain and some downed trees and maybe some flooding here in Richmond and the surrounding and more inland areas. It looks like the coast is going to get pounded, and mandatory evacuations are happening in many of those areas right now. We moved the missionaries early so they would not be caught in the long lines of traffic headed north. The missionary department in Salt Lake has been in close communication with us here and everything that can be done has been done to ensure the safety of the missionaries.

Everyone has been instructed to have extra water and food on hand and to stay inside during the storm. I am expecting all of your missionaries to come through safe and sound.

We invite everyone's prayers on behalf of the people all up and down the east coast and in the Bahamas where so much damage has already been done.

Kind regards,
Sister Perry

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

earthquake update

23 August 2011

Dear Parents,

Sorry for the delay with this message, your e-mail addresses had not been updated on our emergency list so it took me a little time to collect all your addresses. Below is a message I sent out to everyone after the earthquake today. I have added you to the list, but you may also want to check out the facebook page that I keep with pictures of our missionaries. It is a page just for pictures. We don't do much communicating on it as we don't have time. And we ask that you please don't post personal information including last names especially of our investigators or recent converts for privacy reasons. Also, we ask that you not use the information on the page to put together E-mail lists of missionary parents etc., as our church leaders have asked us to refrain from doing so. Information on the internet can so quickly get into the wrong hands or be used in ways that are inappropriate so we ask you to please respect our efforts at privacy. If problems arise from it's use we will have to take it down.

We also use this page to update parents when things happen such as the earthquake today or the hurricane that could be headed our way (you have probably been following the news -- it's never boring here!). We find that it works almost better than our E-mail list. The page can be found by searching for Virginia Sara Perry. It is named that so that there is no confusion that it is not a church affiliated page - just a personal one I keep updated with pictures from transfers, mission conferences, and incoming and outgoing missionaries. Send us a friend request and we'll get you on board.

Thanks for all you do to support your missionary -- we love them all!

Kind regards,
Sister Perry


Hi Everyone,

Just a little update on the earthquaking in Virginia. President and I were in the middle of a Zone Conference in Newport News this afternoon when the earth started to move! Now I have to admit that President is a great speaker and teacher but really!!

Thankfully it was a big rumble and not much more. We have little damage in Virginia at least as far as we can tell and all of our missionaries are safe. The phone lines, cell and otherwise, have been completely jammed so communication has been slower than normal. I hear there was a little damage up in the DC area to some historical buildings and a pipe broken in the Pentagon. The epicenter was near Louisa, halfway between Richmond and Charlottesville - but I personally talked to Elder Stoddard and his companion in Louisa and they were calm and happy, although a little shaken (just a little joke there). He said they haven't been back to their apartment yet but will let us know if anything is amiss. I have heard on the news that some tremors were felt as far north as Canada - wow! Evidently it was one that spread out quite a ways even though it wasn't too severe. We are very grateful that everyone seems fine.

So, all is well, all is well.

Kind regards,
Sister Perry

Monday, August 22, 2011


22 August 2011

Dear Mom,

So many questions. I'll start with the simplest.

No, I don't have a bike yet. But Elder Beardall and I spoke with Elder LeBaron and we'll probably go to the mission office sometime this week to get a bike rack for our car and look at a bike he has there that he thinks should fit me (cost $150). If it does and is comfortable, I'll probably get it. If not, then the WalMart here had a fairly large selection.

Church was good, though the appointment we had right before church fell through so we were stuck at the meeting house an hour early with nothing to do. There wasn't a ward counsel or anything because both the Bishop and 2nd counselor are out of town.

Elder Beardall is a good man. He's kind and caring in his duties as a trainer and a district leader. I enjoy working with him. He's very personable which is helpful because I'm actually quiet out here so he takes most of the talking unless I feel the spirit and speak up.

Are we busy? Sometimes. We're having a hard time finding people to teach so it's difficult because we're doing a lot of searching through the area book and trying to contact former investigators and potential investigators. We've also done a lot of contacting less active members or part-member families. Other than that, we've done quite a bit of knocking on doors and trying to talk to people on the street. On Saturday we went to the local mall and just tried to talk to as many people as we could.

It's good to hear that Dad's back working. I'll bet he's glad to have something to do. I'm glad that things seem to be going well at home. All's well (if a little slow) here.

With love,
Elder Roberts

Monday, August 15, 2011


15 August 2011

Dear Homefront,

The new address is:
9624 Hanover Crossing Rd. Apt. H
Mechanicsville VA, 23116

Transfers are every six weeks, so if you plan to send something to me (letter, package, etc), don't send it on week five until you know whether I'm moving or staying in one place.

It's a small, but comfortable appartment. Large enough that four elders could share it comfortably. But it's just Elder Beardall and me right now. It has a full kitchen, two bedrooms (only one has beds), a split bathroom (shower and toilet on one side, sink on the other with a door in between), a couch and two desks.

The flights went fine, I slept through part of one and spoke with another elder through most of the other. I didn't get much opportunity to proselyte at the airport or on the flights. President and Sister Perry met us at the airport along with the two Assistants. President and Sister Perry are very open and carring. President doesn't impose any additional rules specific to the mission. He leaves it up to the missionaries to interpret and follow the rules and guidlines found in the white handbook. The two Assistants are funny, and good missionaries. We loaded up everything in a trailer and drove back to the mission home wich is a comfortable cottage capable of hosting up to twenty missionaries at once. There, we were served dinner (Sister Perry is an amazing cook!), and were interviewed by the President.

The next morning, we went to a stake center and had a transfer meeting during which we met our trainers. Mine is Elder Beardall. He's from Rexburg, ID, and has been in the field for about nine months. He has a lot of responsibilities. He's a District Leader and my trainer, and we were "shotgunned." That's where two elders who have never served in a particular area get assigned to that area. We're serving in the Mechanicsville area, and working with the ward of the same name. Mostly we've been getting settled in and getting to know the ward and the area the past couple days, but we'll begin working full out very soon. The ward members here are so strong and helpful. They want to help us in any way they can, and they also love to feed us (of the next 18 days, we have 17 members signed up to feed us dinner. It's absolutly unheard of!). We do have a car, but we also have a mileage limit for each month, so I'm going to be calling the "car czar" Elder LeBaron (the senior missionary in charge of the mission fleet of cars and bikes) fairly soon about buying a used bike from the mission home, and if that doesn't yield results there's a WalMart fairly close by.

That's all I have to write thus far. P-Day is on Monday mission wide so that's when you can expect e-mails from here until I come home.

I love you all,
Elder Roberts

PS: Could you please send me that small green knife you kept? Then I may have you send me some extra supplies for my 72-hour kit. It depends on the selection they have at WalMart. Also, I forgot to grab my camera today, but next week I'll try to see if I can upload pictures and send them home. If I can't, I'll have them printed at a WalMart and mail copies home.

a note

Hi Beardall and Roberts families,

Your sons spent the evening in our home. They are both brand new to this area and are excited to be here and to help our ward in any way that they can. They both bore wonderful testimonies to our family. Elder Beardall said a beautiful prayer (I wish you could have heard it). We are so impressed with both of them and are grateful to have them in our ward. Thank-you for raising such fine young men. We know you miss them. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

the Burton family

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


9 August 2011

First of all, happy birthday to Sidney.

And now for the rest:

I did get the stamps, and I will take that minute to soak that in.

As for some of the questions in the letters you wrote:

Yes, it would be helpful to not have so many questions, that way I can just write and not have to worry about the clock ticking by.

About the bike, I have the 230ish in my bank account and I still have plenty of cash (over 200 I know). So I should be alright, especially if I can find a Walmart or somewhere like that where I can get a fairly good bike for fairly cheap.

I won't buy the CDs and other stuff, but if you'd be willing to send me the same CDs, I'd like that (MoTab: Requiem, Men of the ..., This is the Christ, etc; any other Jon Schmidt ... just about anything that is classical or church approved lyrical).

Thanks for the Call Card. As I said, I'll hopefully call you during my layover (so I'm not calling so early in the morning). Then I'll send the card back home. I know Atlanta is a large airport and I'll probably run short on time, but I think I can make it happen.

Yes, I would still like my watch, and their inventory is always changing. But if the certificate has an expiration date, or if the watch doesn't seem like it will come in soon, go ahead and get me something that I'd like and would also find useful (maybe the "Shower Shock" soap. Just kidding).

Yes, Garrett is still the same smart funny and nice kid he always was. I also ran into Daniel Rigby this past week, but I'm sad because I remembered that Mike Nelson doesn't report until tomorrow and I'll already be gone by then.

Also, I would recommend against using (Carrie may want to put this on the blog) since it would just go to the mission home, and I wouldn't get it until almost a month after the letter was sent. I'll let you know my new address as soon as I know it.

Can you believe that it's already been three weeks? Time seems to fly by so fast. It seems like only yesterday that I reported, and now I'm leaving the MTC for Virginia. I'm going to miss Elder Van Dyke and the rest of my district. Yesterday we also had our last classes with our two teachers, Brothers Strong and Hainsworth. I'm going to miss everyone I've come to know and love here, and now I get to look forward to those I get to meet in the field.

Onward, Christian soldiers ... Here we go. Love you all.

With love,
E. John Y. Roberts.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


2 August 2011

Dear Mom,

I'm sorry to hear about Josh's backpack, makes me certain to keep a better watch on mine.

I'll be helping to host on Wednesday (I'll be working on traffic duty) so I'll hopefully get to see Mike. I'm glad his farewell went well, even if the address was wrong.

I told you the Kia's A/C was on the fritz, good to know they can fix it though. Also, I'm sorry to hear about the computer desk, even though we did need a new one.

As for the rest:

I leave the MTC at 4 AM on Wednesday, 8/10. My flight leaves SLC at 7:10 or so, and I'm on Delta. I have a layover for about an hour in Atlanta, GA, and then from there to Virginia. I don't have my papers right in front of me so I'm not sure what airport I'm flying in to. I'll be able to call home from the airport, and I'll probably do that when I'm in Atlanta, so it should probably be around 10 or 11 that morning if anyone wants to be home for a bit.

I have 10 other elders in my district (used to have 11 but one went home. There's Elders Van Dyke (my companion), Eager (roommate), Joyner (roommate), Burke, Orr, Miller, Peterson, Coon, Wood, and Hazeldein. Most of them are from Utah, but Wood is from Idaho, Coon is from Nevada, and Eager is from Arizona. Almost all of them are or were jocks, and they're all pretty good guys.

My classes are taught by Brother Strong and Brother Hanesworth, two recently returned missionaries (they've been home for about a year a piece). They are both really good teachers, and I'm learning a ton from them.

The schedule changes each day, but every day consists of 3 meals at 8, 12:45, and 5:45; 2 class times (roughly 3 hours); gym for 50 minutes; Teaching Resource Center (volunteers pose as investigators for us to teach) for 1 hour; lots of personal and district study time; zone teaching for an hour; and some personal time right before bed. Up at 6:30 and in bed at 10:30. The only real changes are Tuesdays and Sundays. Tuesdays are my P-Day when I can go to the temple, do laundry (which I've done twice), write letters, and the devotional in the evening. Sundays I have regular church style meetings and another devotion in the evening and sometimes a movie after that. I watched Legacy (about Wilford Woodruff) last week, and this past Sunday I watched the newer Joseph Smith movie.

That pretty much covers it, and I'm out of time.

Elder John Y. Roberts