Wednesday, November 28, 2012


26 November 2012

Dear Homefront,
This week was very slow, not very much got done, but it was still a good week.
Thanksgiving was a non-proselyting day for us so we had some fun.  We spent the night at the Innsbrook apartment again (because we'd had a district meeting Wednesday morning, and to save on miles) and then in the morning we went to two different Turkey Bowls.  The Gayton Ward had theirs in a park near the church building so we started off there and played for a couple hours.  It was fun and a great opportunity to build fellowship with the Ward.  After that, though, there was a Tri-Zone Turkey Bowl going on for all the missionaries in the Richmond, Midlothian, and Chesterfield Zones so we went down there and played for a little longer.
After we were worn out on football, we went back up to Goochland and were invited over to join a family for their Thanksgiving meal.  It was a very nice, traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  After dinner, worn out and stuffed (many members won't let you refuse seconds (or thirds, or fourths, etc)), we stumbled back to our apartment and enjoyed a nice evening of relaxation.  My companion promptly fell asleep and I read.
That I would say was the true highlight of this week though, and it was a fun day of Thanksgiving.  Church was also very nice this week, with talks on Prayer, Scriptures, and the Holy Ghost that brought the Spirit greatly.
This upcoming week, Elder Andersen and I have actually been invited to attend Leadership Training Conference which President Perry and the Assistants put on.  Four days of sitting in a pew ... Thankfully the Spirit will be strong.  I actually am excited to go.  I've been once before (back when I was in VA Beach) and I'm sure I'll enjoy it this time as well.
I love you all.  Stay safe and keep hope burning bright.
With love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts
PS: you asked about Christmas; and to be honest I don't know.  Cash is always nice, it's small and useful and easy to carry around.  Other than that maybe music or more books (I don't really have any particular titles to look for).  Maybe a couple more shirts, a couple of my collars are starting to show signs of wear.

Monday, November 19, 2012


19 November 2012

Dear Homefront,
NO MORE MARRIAGES UNTIL I'M HOME!!!  Seriously ... isn't missing four already enough?
On another note, transfers are now said and done here in the VRM.  My new companion out in the Land of the Gooches is Elder Andersen from Boise, ID.  He's been on his mission for a whopping twelve weeks so far, I'm his second companion and he was actually trained out in Burkeville where I was nearly a year ago.  The work in Goochland is going pretty slow, and I suspect that this week will be even slower with Thanksgiving, but there is the Turkey Bowl to look forward to (potentially two, one with the ward and one that's a tri-zone activity, just need to figure out scheduling).
Other than that, Thanksgiving is a non-proselyting day and we've been invited over by a couple members to join them for Thanksgiving dinner.
As a missionary, holidays  seem to take on a whole new meaning, especially for a history/mythology lover like me who tries to think about the orgin of the holidays.  With Thanksgiving approaching, my thoughts have been turned to the account given in the book of Luke, when the Savior heals the Ten Lepers.  Ten leprous men approached the Lord, expressing faith and desiring to be healed of their plague.  The Lord tenderly grants their request with the instruction that they go and show themselves unto the priest (which was the Mosaic law pertaining to the situation).  When they had commenced in their journey they witnessed that they were healed and they rejoiced, yet only one turned back and fell down before Jesus Christ and began to glorify God.  The Lord's solemn reproach that followed was one against the ingratitude shown by the nine.  "Were there not ten that were healed?  Where then are the nine?"  How often are we counted among the nine, who have had the grace of God shed upon us abundantly yet forget to give thanks where thanks is due?  That we might all take time on this wonderful holiday to give solemn and reverent thanks to our Lord and God, without whom there would be no reason to celebrate at all, is my humble prayer.
I am grateful for this opportunity which I have to serve the God who gave me life, and for the family which has helped me in many ways, the least of all is in the financial preparation for my mission.  I am grateful for friends and family; for good health and life; for love; and most especially for the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, which grants hope and salvation to all men who are willing to abide by it.
I love you all and pray for your safety.  Keep hope alive.
With love,
Elder John Y. Roberts

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


12 November 2012
Dear Homefront,
This week was really slow out here in Goochland.  I mean really slow.  We're back in the process of finding (the grunt work of missionary work) which has been kinda difficult with it cooling off so there's not too many people out and about.  But we're trying to keep up our hopes.  We helped the Pinkstons some more with their house.  Almost all of the sheet-rock is up so now they're working on mudding the walls and waiting for the plumbing inspections so that they can finish hanging the walls that have pipes in them.  We also helped the Maldonado's some more with the animals.
Transfer calls came in yesterday.  I'm staying here in Goochland but I'm getting a new companion, an Elder Anderson.  I don't think I've met him yet, and from what the Assistants said, he's a fairly new missionary.  Look's like President is putting a lot of trust in me.  I hope I can live up to it.
I also finished Jesus the Christ this week.  That book is a beast to read but at the same time it's such a spiritual feast.  By the end, I almost couldn't put it down.  Elder Talmage's discourses are just so amazing and detailed.  I can't imagine ever knowing the scriptures the way he did.
I also ran into a couple mishaps this week, but don't worry, I'm fine now.  Just some bad luck.  When we were doing service at the Maldonado's I was breaking up some bad boards to put in their burn barrel (they burn their trash).  Well, one of the boards didn't seem to appreciate the fact very much and decided to perform a counter-offensive by having part of itself fly up and hit me on the side of my head.  It gave me a fair size lump and a pretty bad headache but not much past that.  The lump disappeared by the next morning and the headache lingered a little but it's mostly gone now.  The worst part wasn't getting hit, it was in Brother Maldonado's (good-natured) teasing that it looked like one of his chickens had laid an egg on my temple.  The other mishap happened at dinner last night.  We had a delicious rice dish which I ate too fast (just like my father) and caught the hiccups.  Brother Emanuele offered me some peanut butter and honey, a sure-fire cure to the hiccups.  The problem occured when I tried to swallow.  The peanut butter tried to go down and a hiccup tried to come up ... unfortunately the hiccup won the battle, which caused me to splutter and cough (peanut butter up the nose is not a pleasant sensation).  Thankfully, it did the job and the hiccups lost the war, just not quite in the way intended.
Other than that, I'm fine and dandy.  I hope all is well out there.
I love you all.
-Elder John Y. Roberts
PS:  I was wrong, Bro Bushman probably wouldn't know the Maldonados.  When they lived in Utah they had a home teacher by the name of Brent Bushman, not Brett Bushman.
PPS:  The purchase at RadioShack was rechargable batteries.  My batteries seemed to be dying so quickly (I honestly don't know why) so I thought that in the long run rechargable ones would cut my cost ... unfortunately, half the purchase became obsolete when the one flashlight I had that ran on AAA's fell out of my backpack one night and broke when it hit the driveway.  I try to keep track of money ... It just gets away from me sometimes ... I'm sorry.  Guess I'll just have to get a wife that manages finances like you mom.
PPPS:  Love you.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


5 November 2012

Dear Homefront,
Well, this week hasn't been the most exciting, but it could've been worse.  The storm didn't cause too much damage so that took our ideas of providing lots of service, but I guess that's a blessing as well because it means that people in this area passed through it fairly unscathed.
This week, we had a couple good lessons with some of our investigators, Lee and Joey.  With Lee we were able to talk about the apostasy and the restoration as well as watch some of general conference.  With Joey, we had a great lesson about the plan of salvation.  I absolutly love teaching about the plan of salvation because everytime I do, I'm just blown away with how much love our Heavenly Father has for us in allowing the plan to work and the comfort of knowing that this life isn't just some cosmic accident; life didn't start at birth, nor will it end at death, but everything has a design and it works.
This week I led my second ever District Meeting.  It went actually really well.  The Zone Leaders were there (no pressure right?) and Elder Kohler gave a really good training on Finding.  I then trained on Unity.  There are some great scriptures on that topic.  I found them all by using the topical guide which is just an amazing resource.
After district meeting, Elder Carlson and I had an exchange with the Zone Leaders.  I went with Elder Kohler and Elder Carlson worked with Elder Case.  Since things are slow up here, we all went out and tracted a couple neighborhoods, so it was more of a blitz than an exchange, but it was good nonetheless.  We didn't see too much success, but we did get a return appointment for Tuesday at one house so we'll see how that goes.
Church was really good this week.  Roger, one of the recent converts in the area recieved the Aaronic Priesthood in Elders Quorum and then the lesson was on Home Teaching and Missionary work.  There were also some really great testimonies in Sacrament meeting this week.
Other than all of that, not too much has happened.  Thank you for the Halloween care package and the BYU marching band CD, it was nice. I hope all is going well for you and that you are staying safe and well.
With love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts
PS:  I do/did know Sister Shefcick, she was in my district when I was in Burkeville.  As for Elder Zajac, no, I have not had a chance.  He's serving in Norfolk which is on the far side of the mission from me.
PSS:  Absentee ballot arrived and has been submitted.
PSSS:  Next time you see him, could you ask Brother Bushman, if he remembers an Antonio (Tony) and Maria Maldonado?
PSSSS:  So ... I think I over-drafted my account again, but not by too much.  I had to get some more contacts and some other things for my eye's/health this past week and I didn't know when we'd be down by WalMart again so I took my chances.  It's hard for us to get down to Walmart because it's roughly 20 or so miles away and out of our area.  The only times we're in that area is when we're down at the church.  This shouldn't happen again though.  I've just had some larger purchases this past month so I was cutting close.  Sorry.


30 October 2012

Dear Homefront,
Well, out of the hurricane, all we got here in Goochland is rain.  No power outages to our knowledge and no real storm damage that we could see.  But we were still required to stay in our apartments all day yesterday which ended up being filled with naps, boredom, writing a couple letters, and a few rounds of RISK.
Last Tuesday we had Mission Conference which included all of the zones on the Richmond side of the mission (the Tidewater zones had theirs on Monday) and we had Elder Whiting of the Seventy speak to us about the Doctrine of Christ, which is summed up by the 4th article of faith:  "We believe ... Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost."  We can then add for ourselves the final statement of "Enduring to the End."  Elder Whiting also spoke about how Faith, Unity, Obedience, and Desire work together in not only missionary work, but in all facets of the Gospel.
This past Thursday was also our ward's and the Spanish branch's joint Trunk-or-Treat activity.  They also had a chili cook-off and a "pumkin" dessert cook-off.  Some of the dishes were very good and the vast array of costumes were delightful.
This Sunday was our Primary program as well.  It went rather well and the spirit was very strong.  It worked out perfectly because the Sisters had an investigator come to church this week and he absolutely loved the program.
Other than all that, this week has been pretty slow, and with the rain and the drop in temperature there's been fewer and fewer people out and about.  But we're trying and working hard.
Hope all is well with all of you.  Stay safe, and keep hope burning bright.
With love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts