Tuesday, December 27, 2011


26 December 2011

Dear Homefront,

Well, the festivities are done, and the world is already returning to its same frantic and irreverent pace. But that's where the Gospel comes in, we bear the message that helps people keep the spirit that reigns at Christmas all year round.

Christmas was an interesting experience here in Burkeville. We were invited to two different Christmas Eve parties and then we spent Christmas day with the Trents and their family. Too many people in their small house ... it was fun.

I don't really have anything new to report this week. The work is good.

Well, that's all for now.

With love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts

Monday, December 19, 2011


19 December 2011

Dear Homefront,

Here it is, my new address:

620 South Main
Apt B8
Blackstone, VA 23824

This last week I sent home some packages. The one that is addressed to myself, I would ask that it is just put in my room. It's most of the letters I've recieved since being out and they were just taking up way too much room so this practice of sending them home may become a regular thing.

The other package is my old camera. I got a new one that is a lot slimmer and quite a bit nicer while still being cost effective (getting it was a whole pile of drama though (more later). Feel free to use it if you wish, but I kept my memory card so you'll need to get a new one. The new backpack I had my eye on however I did not get. The price I remembered seeing was for the smaller one that didn't even have as much room as the one I have now.

Now then, the drama involved in getting my new camera ... So we were at WalMart and I decided to get a camera there just while we were getting our weekly groceries, a good idea I thought. So Elder McElhany (who was also being transferred and thereby didn't really care what was bought) went with me over to the Electronics department and I weighed my options and picked out the Sony Cybershot and everything seemed to go smoothly. We met back up with the rest of the other Elders and we left. In the car, I decided to get a look at my new camera so I cut the professional looking sealing sticker and opened up the box ... Wherein I found a beat up and 10 year old looking Canon brick ... Needless to say, I was less than pleased. We were nearly back to the apartment so we took our groceries in and put them away. Then we went back to WalMart, where I got to wait for the corporate slowness to take place. I waited in line at the customer service desk, then they had to call a manager in to Customer Service, then the manager walked me back to the photo/electronics, then the manager and one of the photo workers went back up to customer service asking me to wait there, then the photo worker came back and said the manager would just be a minute, she then pulled out a new camera and opened it up so that we could verify that it was correct this time, then after 20 minutes of waiting, a new manager came back, and after I explained the situation once again, refunded the original purchase and rung me out again so ... all in all, it took nearly an hour to complete the whole process. But I finally have a new camera and I like it a lot.

Then after stressing most the day, I got to celebrate my last Monday in Tidewater YSA by joining the branch for their FHE activity. On the agenda that evening was to take a tour of the USS Albany, a fast attack submarine that was in port at the time, (unfortunately no pictures were allowed on the Naval Base or on the sub) but that was very interesting and rather enjoyable.

And now I'm in the Burkeville branch ... out in the boonies ... We cover a handful of small towns of mostly farmers, laborers, and hunters. There are lots of long winding roads through the woods and lots of open land. There are also a lot of military personnel here as well due to us being so close to Fort Pickett, one of the largest Virginia National Guard bases. I also might get to see a tank or two while I'm here. On one of the main roads which drives right between the fort proper and the artillery ranges, there are five "Tank Crossing" areas.

Elder Eborn knows the area and the people pretty well and has been here for almost 9 months. He's a pretty old missionary and will be going home in April. He's really laid back and likes to laugh and have a good time. He's a bit of a jock and loves both football and basketball.

Well, I think that's it for now ... oh yeah ... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

With love,
Elder John Y. Roberts

PS: No, I haven't been able to write Bishop, however the missionary department is supposed to keep him and President Welch updated on my whereabouts and well-being. I got both the bishopric's card and the ward care package. Please give them my thanks.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


12 December 2011

Dear Homefront,

Transfer calls came in last night. This Thursday I'll be moving from Virginia Beach back up to the Richmond area. I'll be proselyting in Burkeville which is just north of Midlothian with my new companion Elder Eborn. I'll figure out my new address by next Monday so I can send it in my next e-mail. I'm really sad to see Virginia Beach go and I'll miss working in a singles branch, but the church is true, even in Midlothian (or so I've heard).

This past week was really good. I thoroughly enjoyed the Stake Christmas Cantata that we had last night, even though my transfer call came right in the middle of it. Thankfully I was sitting on the back row because we were running late from our last appointment that evening, so I was able to slip out and answer it. We also had an amazing zone meeting. President Lamborne (our stake president) attended and gave a training on Revelation through Council. Then my companions gave a training on faith and the role it plays in missionary work. At the end, we had a zone wide prayer for specific investigators who we felt could be baptized before the end of the year. The spirit was so strong there. I loved it.

Other than that, the week has been pretty hectic. Our teaching pool's been pretty small here so we've been doing a lot of referral seeking and visiting with less active members and recent converts. We've been working hard and having fun in the work of the Lord.

I love you all, and hope you're all well and safe.
-Elder John Y. Roberts

Thanks Mom. I'll let you know what I do about the camera and backpack.
I almost forgot. The Christmas call! As far as I understand, I'll be allowed a 40-45 minute call. Still no clue on what time of day. I'll let you know as soon as I do.

Monday, December 5, 2011


5 December 2011

Dear Homefront,

Leadership was amazing. The spirit was so strong there. Four days of trainings prepared by President and Sister Perry as well as Elders Cook and Wheelock the two assistants, compounded by roughly fifty missionaries all having opportunity to share their insights and feelings in counsel. As well as amazingly good food to boot. ;) I think my favorite parts were Sister Perry's training on the importance of the Book of Mormon and President's training on the Missionary Purpose.

Following returning to my proselyting area, I had the opportunity also to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional broadcast. My heart was warmed by President Monson's sincere urge to remember the true meaning of Christmas and his usage of classic literature to help his point. My spirit was touched by President Eyring's heartfelt testimony of the divinity of the Savior. And my soul was filled with joy with President Uchtdorf's humorous account of how he caught the living room curtains on fire as a child.

All of this, has made for one spiritually exhausting week. However, it has forged into my heart and soul a newfound dedication and has armed me with a keener insight as to my duties as a missionary and what I need to do, in order to not only become a better missionary, but throughout my life.

I hope all of you are well and safe. Continue to pray for missionary miracles, your faithful prayers keep the work moving forward.

I love you all,
-Elder John Y. Roberts

PS: I've gotten fairly good about using my debit card (and by extention my MSF card) as little as possible. So I think I shoud be good for a little bit on funds. I don't really have any big purchases in mind for the near future. About the only things I'm thinking about getting would be a new backpack (the one I got at the MTC is good, but it's just too simple and I have no real way to carry my scriptures, PMG and still have room to organize and carry other proselyting supplies. There were some pretty good yet inexpensive ones at a sporting goods store here locally as well as I could check out Walmart and see what they could offer. Counsel?

I know I haven't sent too many pictures, and I think it stems from the fact that I haven't really been taking pictures ... The main reason being that my camera is just awkward to carry with me. Especially when I'm not carrying my backpack (and even when I am). I've been looking around at Walmart (when any of the other elders want to print off a picture or two and they have some pretty compact ones that I've been looking at for under $100, possibly cheaper with Christmas sales coming up (it's up to you, though. Looking back, I should have made a push for a smaller one before my mission, but there were other, more pertinent things that I was worrying about then.) Maybe I should get one and that way I'll be more likely to actually have it with me and try to take more pictures.