2 April 2012
First question. Is the Elder Smith's name Hyrum? If so, he's not just in my mission, he's in my district.
Conference was amazing. I loved the messages of hope and duty that our wonderful leaders brought us. And with so many of my friends entering the bonds of matrimony, I'm sure the messages of the family were much appreciated as well. I had a blessing of an opportunity to spend all but the priesthood session on base with the soldiers in the Ft. Lee Branch as it was my turn in the rotation. I can't really describe it, but there's just a special spirit that reigns in that place. We don't have a consecrated chapel, we worship in a space where the Chaplains make a theater, and where Muslims meet on Fridays for mosque. Our Branch President conducts interviews in a borrowed office, and our music is provided by a curious little character I like to call Private Boom-box. Yet there I see soldiers find their desire to grow, there in the most difficult of soil and they flourish. We've had so many recent ordinations it's almost unbelievable. Just yesterday, Darby our newest ordained priest blessed the sacrament for the first time. Many soldiers give up their "off post" passes, which are sometimes the only chance they'll get to leave the base while they're there for training, in order to go to church ... it's ... amazing. They do their duty, willingly and without shame. It's truly inspiring. In between the sessions yesterday, President Branderberry asked me to also instruct the brethren of the Melchizedek Priesthood on consecrating oil, and Hamilton, our most recently ordained elder, was able to perform that ceremony as well.
Hopewell is amazing. And I thank a loving Heavenly Father for allowing me this opportunity to serve here.
I love you all and hope you are all safe and well. Keep the fire of hope burning brightly.
With much love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts
PS: Dad, it was either that one or a purple heart one. It just made me think of you. For more reasons than one. One of which is this. It's been a matter of serious reflection in my mind and I've taken the opportunity to take it before the Lord. I feel that I've gotten an affirmative answer. When I return home, I plan to pursue a contract with the Utah State ROTC and take a simultaneous enlistment with the Guard, all of which will help me through college and provide me a more stable financial base and allow me to graduate with less debt than I would have otherwise. I want to follow your path in the sense that I want to become airborne and air-assault certified (which fits into one of the requirements of the ROTC dictating I have a specialization in one of those or another field that they'd accept). Which is why the wings plaque made me think of you. I want you there when I do this. And if what I've heard is correct, then when I graduate jump school, you can be the one to pin my wings on my chest, and if that's true, Dad, I want that. I love you. Take care of Mom while I'm away.
I got your email this morning. And just in time, I was about to log off.
Yes, that will work. And it will save you putting un-needed money on for the months I don't spend very much.
Please tell Ava happy b-day for me.
If the person in the picture looks like me, it probably is me. As for the reason I don't mention it? I'm pretty sure I did talk about the Christmas Mission conference. Zone and district meeting are just more meetings, so that's why I don't usually bring those up. I like to tell you about the big things, because it feels like it did at school. You don't always remember every little detail, but those things that are most memorable are the things you most want to share.
I love you Mom. Glad you like the Turd-Bird. Thank you for buying those missionaries lunch. Coming from a missionary's perspective, they were very grateful.
~Elder John Y. Roberts