Tuesday, August 28, 2012


27 August 2012

Dear Homefront,
We're doing good here in Hopewell.  The work really seems to be picking up which is really good because that means we have more to keep us busy.  This past week was fairly quiet due to transfers and all that good stuff, but we still got plenty done.  On Thursday we had the actual transfer meeting so we picked up Elder Clawson.  He seems like someone I can get along with.  He's from Idaho, near Preston, and he loves to work on computers.  He's also been on bike for his whole mission so far so I hope he's enjoying this nice reprieve being in a car.
This transfer was a fairly large one, with 19 leaving and about that many coming in.  It's a miracle neither Elder Huntzinger or I left.  At the end of this transfer, I'll have been with him for six months and I'll have been in Hopewell for roughly nine.  That's a far cry from my second longest area when I served for three months in VA Beach. ;)  At transfer meeting, we had our usual safety videos, followed by the pairing of the trainers and the trainees, and then President Perry spoke.  I always enjoy hearing from him.  He spoke a little about our purpose as missionaries and then repeated one of his personal favorite refrains.  "When Satan knocks you down, stand back up and say 'I choose Christ!'"  It's amazing how inspirational such a short phrase can be.  Us standing back up is us repenting (if needed) and never admitting defeat.  Us choosing Christ is us focusing on what truly matters most.  We never give up, no matter the odds; and we do this because the prize is worth any obstacle.  Christ is worth it.
This week it was my privileged opportunity to attend church at Ft. Lee.  I'm always renewed by a service there, and by the special spirit that there presides.  My heart reaches out to those dear saints that struggle through the rigors of training, and still shake off the grasp of Babylon and come to Zion.  It is truly amazing and inspiring.
I love you all and hope you are well.  Stay safe, and keep hope burning bright.
With much love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts

Monday, August 20, 2012


20 August 2012

Dear Homefront,
Well, transfer calls came through last night.  Lock and load for round 6 in Hopewell!  More good news is that Elder Huntzinger is staying as well and we're getting a third man.  His name's Elder Clawson.  I don't personally know him but we'll see how he is on Thursday.
This past week has been good.  The work here has really started to turn around and we have investigators just popping out of the woodwork.  Not all of them are solid, but we're just happy to have the work.  We've also been working closely with a few members of the Ward Council such as our new Relief Society president and the Ward Clerk to hunt down information and to act as their blood hounds if they have anyone they're worried about or haven't been able to make contact with.
We had a Zone conference on Wednesday with the Midlothian Zone.  President and Sister Perry as well as the Assistants trained on different subjects such as working with the Ward Leadership (ch 13 in PMG), bettering our companionship inventories, and working through difficulties.  It was a change in pace as it seems that the entire last month of Zone and District meetings have been on obedience.
Following the conference, I went on exchanges with Elder Hopkins and Elder Richardson and we worked in Petersburg.  Interesting news, Elder Richardson went to AF High.  So that was an interesting time.  The highlights of that exchange are that I found a set of ACU's that fit me perfectly in the Petersburg apartment.  Elder Richardson said they'd been there since before him so they are now mine ;) (premonition of the future?).
The other main highlight is that since Elder Richardson's companion had finished his mission and gone home, he was working with the Colonial Heights Elders.  Well, they'd forgotten to get a visitors pass for their car which they left parked outside the Petersburg apartment.  Long story short, it got towed which ended our exchange with a quick scramble to have all of us (because none of us could be left alone) squeeze into one car and race to the impound lot to bail out their car ... That's a bit of a hit on an Elder's pocket-book.
Other than that, it's just work as usual.  I hope all's going well for all of you.  Stay safe.
With love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts

PS:  It was somewhere on one of dad's lines I think but don't quote me on that.  I put it in the "family tree" view and just extended out the topmost four lines that would go.  When one line would run out, I would go back, collapse it, and extend the next one.  No clue on who put it in but next time I get a chance I'll look and see if I can figure it out.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


13 August 2012

Dear Homefront,
This week was very busy for us, very tiring too.  But lots of good work got done so we're happy.
Monday found us at a tri-zone P-Day just having some fun.  I ran into none other than one Sister Nash, Garrett's older sister.  She sends her well wishes and says she has good memories of you and the 3rd Ward.
The rest of the week was a blur of appointments and lessons and service.  We helped the Colonial Heights elders move one of their members and we did more painting for the Maynes family here in Hopewell.  It's entertaining:  since transfer calls come in this week, we have a fun wager between us to see who will leave Hopewell first, myself or them.  If I get transferred, they'll win, if not, I'll be around to see them go.
I honestly don't know what will happen with transfers this time around.  Normally we have some inkling but this time, nothing.  I'd be sad to see Hopewell go though.  The work has recently been speeding up as we've been working hard.  It's good to feel so busy again, and there are still more prospects on the horizon.  I love it here.
I love you all and miss you lots.  Stay safe and happy.
Elder John Y. Roberts
PS:  Got my eyes checked, they're actually a litte better than they were a year ago, not by much, but a little.  I just bought one box of contacts for each eye just in case I needed more cash later on.  Those charges will be showing up.  (Though I still think it's stupid that I should get charged $120 for just the eye exam alone ...)  Oh well, looking on the brighter side.
PPS:  I was playing around on Familysearch.org and I found out that one of our lines goes back to Roman Emperors and Trojan Kings.  I didn't know that before.
PPPS:  I was checking out the meetinghouse locator on Mormon.org and out of a moment of curiosity I typed in our address and searched for all nearby chapels.  There's a ton.  But since the locator works through google maps, I also saw the house.  It's going to look weird without the spruce.
PPPPS:  Speaking of Dad working, when is he going to retire?  He's not getting any younger and I worry about him sometimes.  I know he's a tough old man but I still worry about him doing such heavy manual labor at his age.
PPPPPS:  Just in case you didn't get the message, I love and miss you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


6 August 2012

Dear Homefront,
This past week has been good, but tiring.  Things are starting to turn around for us but that means that we've been very busy.  And for some reason, neither myself nor Elder Huntzinger have been sleeping very well.  For me, its not falling asleep, for him, its not staying asleep.  But we've been trucking along and working hard.
We've done some more service this week as well.  Our High Priest Group Leader and his family are moving soon so we've been helping them do some painting and splitting some of the wood that they have from trees they've recently chopped down.  We've also been taking their priest-age son out with us generally once or twice a week.  He enjoys it and it helps him get ready for his mission.
That's actually something we've been trying to do here lately.  Work with our priest quorum to get them excited for missionary work.  We've taken many of the boys out on splits or asked them to come with us to lessons and then we'll talk to them about missions as we drive either to or from the appointment.  It's been really good for both us and them.  And it's something I wish I'd taken the time to do before my mission.  It would've helped me to know a little more what to expect as I headed out.
Mission President's Interviews were this week.  I always love meeting with President Perry, he's always so insprirational.  Following that, we had the branch activity out on post.  That was fun, as usual.
This week we were also invtited to the graduation of Emily and Ileona, two of our investigators on post.  They're both excited to leave, but they both said they'd miss the branch.  They both wanted to keep investigating when they got home so we got them the contact information of the missionaries in their home wards.  They are really great people.
Other than that, not too much is going on.  I got that package, thank you.  We might try the Norwegian cookies, that actually sounded good and simple.
I hope that all is well for you.  I love you all and miss you.
With love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts
PS:  Yes, I know Elder Zajac ... not sure where he's serving right now ... but if I run into him I'll ask.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


30 July 2012

Dear Homefront,

Oh, this week has been tiring. Elder Huntzinger and Elder Newman were both invited to go to a special training meeting so Elder Hopkins and I got to work two areas. That was fun. Really not too much

Then on Saturday we got scared for a bit because nobody showed up for the branch activity until nearly 4 so we nearly closed up and went home. Lucky for the soldiers that did show up, we hadn't left just yet.

This past Sunday, the bishop gave us the first half of the combined Priesthood/Relief Society meeting to talk about missionary work. We talked to the ward about the church websites and other proselyting
tools that they could use to share the gospel. Then in Sacrament meeting our Ward Mission Leader was one of the speakers and he talked about the whys of missionary service.

We're still working hard here in Hopewell, trying to find more people to teach. Look for opportunities to share. Members and their work are the life-blood of missionary work. Also, do your home and visiting teaching. There are far too many less active members that might have stayed strong if they'd have had a friend.

I'm not in the boonies anymore so I don't have to worry about snakes and ticks as much as I have to watch for roaches ... disgusting little critters. As for the vegetables, I eat whatever the members put in
front of us. ;)

I hope all is going well for all of you. I love you all.
Stay safe, and keep hope burning.

With love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts