Tuesday, December 18, 2012


17 December 2012

Dear Homefront,
Well, it looks like I'm hanging around for a third round in the Gooch.  Elder Andersen is staying as well.  As far as I know, I only have one person changing in my District.  Innsbrook is losing Elder Mabry and Elder Kim is coming in to replace him.
This week has been pretty slow.  We finally have our new map of the area put together and we plan on starting up a grid-by-grid overhaul of the area and the area book; trying to jumpstart the area.
One of the best parts of this week was our Christmas Mission Conference.  On Tuesday, all the missionaries on the Richmond side of the mission (Tidewater side had theirs on Thursday) - namely the missionaries in the Richmond, Midlothian, Chesterfield, and Wayneborough areas - got together for an amazing devotional full of music and the spoken word.  Some of the missionaries who were soon to return home bore their testimonies, and many missionaries performed musical numbers.  President Perry trained on unity, expertly using the scripture in 1st Corinthians where it speaks about the body of Christ, and President Ramsey (one of President Perry's counselors in the Mission Presidency) spoke about the Spirit of the Season and about the role of the Prophet Joseph Smith (as his birthday is on the 23rd).  The Assistants also had prepared a very special Christmas gift for President and Sister Perry as this is their last Christmas in the mission-field.  They had every missionary in the mission send in their testimony and had them bound into a book which they presented to the Perry's on behalf of the mission.
They also showed an amazing video which was recently produced by the Church of the musical group "The Piano Guys" performing the beloved carol "Oh Come, oh Come, Emmanuel" and set to scenes from the Church's recent Bible Videos.  I've included a link to the video which can be found on the Mormon Channel.
It was also really good to see a few of my old friends there.  Elder Carlson and Elder Huntzinger were both in attendance as well as many others who I've met and have made friends with over the course of my mission.
Other than that, not a whole lot has happened this week.  I safely received the package from the Ward as well as one from the Frasers.  I had sent two boxes home, both are just stuff to be put away with my other stuff (just things I've collected and didn't think I'd have room for if I were to get transferred but didn't want to leave behind).
I love you all, and wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  I may not be able to email next week because the libraries might be closed down for the holidays.  We've been invited to an early Christmas dinner with a family around 2 so we may try and call shortly after then, perhaps around 3 or so.  We're allowed 40 minutes for the call, that's the standard set by the First Presidency in the missionary handbook.
With much love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts

Monday, December 10, 2012


10 December 2012

Dear Homefront,
Another week gone and sadly not much has changed here in Goochland County, Virginia.  The main highlights of this week mostly happened during the week-end but there's been some good throughout the week.
Last Monday, we had a Zone preparation day where we went downtown to the Virginia Museum of Fine Art.  There was a wonderful exhibit of the work of Dale Chihuly who is an artist who works with blown glass.  The rest of the museum was filled with art from around the world and extending from ancient to works made within the last decade.  I rather enjoyed the section they had on the oriental and asian arts as well as some work from the Victorian Era.
Friday was Zone meeting which was attended by a guest trainer, Brother Anderson who is the Richmond Stake High Councilman over missionary work.  The meeting was really good with trainings from Brother Anderson and our two Zone Leaders.  Following the meeting, we helped to blitz the Downtown Elders' area and were able to meet a couple cool guys that were open to learning more so we passed their contact information to the Downtown Elders.  That evening was the Gayton Ward Christmas party which was very nice.  We had a couple less active members that came out for that.  It was a very good mix of fun and spiritual entertainment with a program which involved all of the primary age children leading a Christmas sing-along with our very enthusiastic organist, Brother Cheshire, on the piano, followed by a live nativity set to music.
Saturday was a long day for us.  The Stake was putting on a nativity exhibit which included a guided walk-through of a multi-room live nativity with the shepherds, wise men, king Herod, and the manger scene all being in separate rooms that guides would take groups through providing the story as is found in the Bible as well as some minor historical aspects surrounding the nativity.  The exhibit culminated in a concert of Christmas hymns.  Brother Maldonado was asked to bring down some of his animals to create a sort of "petting zoo"/shepherd's exhibit which could entertain the children.  Of course, we got enlisted into helping him do this so that morning we reported to his home where we cut wood and carted it down to the church along with hay and straw to make a small enclosure.  Then we had to go round-up the animals.  We started with the easiest of them, his two kid-goats.  We simply threw some food into a dog kennel and they walked right in peacefully.  Then we caught two of his geese, somehow managing to avoid their sharp pinches and loaded them into another dog kennel.  The harder part came in chasing down and roping his ram and one of his she-goats.  His ram can jump at least five feet in the air so it was very challenging trying to corner him.  But we got them and loaded them all up in the truck.  The children thoroughly enjoyed it at least.  Then that evening we were enlisted in helping to dismantle the exhibits and to help cart them down to storage.  It was a good long day of hard work.
I hope everyone is doing well as we prepare for the Christmas holiday and the celebrations of our Lord's birth which it entails.
I love you all, and wish for you the best.
With love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts

Monday, December 3, 2012


3 December 2012

Dear Homefront,
So, Leadership Conference was absolutely amazing.  I was privileged to spend four days receiving training directly from President and Sister Perry, the Assistants, and two or three Zone Leaders from around the mission (side note: Elder Andreason was one of the above mentioned Zone Leaders).  They trained on the Eight Fundamentals of Preach My Gospel which include things such as the roles of the Holy Ghost or Book of Mormon in conversion or on Revelation through Church Attendance or about Teaching People not Lessons to name a few.  The entire conference is focused on helping us become better missionaries and by extension better leaders.  There were about sixty missionaries from all over the mission and from all links of the authoritative chain.
I think the training I enjoyed the most was President Perry's training on the Doctrine of Christ, which comprises the whole basis for the missionary purpose of helping others come unto Christ by faith, repentance, baptism, recieving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  I filled a good number of pages in my journal with insight and revelation that I received about the Gospel.  It was such an amazing experience.
Unfortunately, due to both myself and Elder Andersen being at leadership, no proselyting happened in Goochland which didn't help the situation there.  Oh well, that just means we get to work even harder.  Although it did turn out to be a bit of a blessing because we were very tight on miles so it saved us from going over because we didn't use our car for a week.
This Sunday we had Stake Conference.  There seemed to be an emphasis on missionary work with one of the speakers being a recently returned sister missionary who'd served in Mesa, Arizona.  President and Sister Perry were also invited by President Mullens (our Stake President) to speak.  President Perry spoke about the Priesthood which was given for two primary reasons.  First, it was given so that we could preach the gospel and second so that we could bless the families of the Earth.  The way we bless the family is by fulfilling the Abrahamic covenant by providing the duly sanctioned ordinances which are required for the salvation of mankind.  How great of a blessing and a responsibility is the Priesthood?
So, as a refresher (or an FYI) there will be a transfer on the 20th of December and I won't know what's happening with that transfer until the Sunday before.  So if anyone wants to mail something out for Christmas, it'll need to be before then, or wait until I know my new address (if I get transferred).
I love you all and I'm running out of time so I'll sign off now.
With love,
Elder John. Y. Roberts
PS:  The doctors couldn't tell anything from the CT scan so they've ruled out the scary stuff.  So now it's just the waiting game until it either goes away or they send me to a gastro-intestinal specialist.