Tuesday, May 28, 2013


28 May 2013

Dear Homefront,

Well, here we are.  The dreaded countdown has begun... well, dreaded for the missionary, not the the family and friends that are eagerly awaiting.  Only one week left until the call that will decide which mission I'll be reporting home from.  Then just that six week transfer and I'll be sitting on a plane ... Goodness.  Where has the last two years gone?

Things are going pretty well here in the VRM, if a little hectic.  The Stocks move out this week and their replacements, the Halls, are coming in.  Then we've got everyone getting ready for transfers and the mission split.  I really feel sorry for the office staff who are dealing with all the administrative side of it.

On the bright side of news, we have a baptism coming up this week.  --- is ready and we're all very excited for her as she makes this step along her eternal journey.  One of the greatest blessings of serving this mission has been being able to watch the pure joy of the Gospel flood into a person's life as they come to know of the truth of our message.

We were also on the radio again this past week.  The hosts of The Great Bible Debate liked us so much the first time around that they invited us back to share more of our beliefs on the air and they even said that we could come back on the show anytime we want.  I feel that it went rather well.  We were able to get much farther this time and focused a little more on the core doctrines.  It was fun.

Well, I think that's just about all I have to report on this week.  I love and miss you all.  As always, be safe, be happy.  I'll see you all soon.

With much love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts

PS:  Yes, I got the new debit card and it works.  Thank you.  Loves.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


20 May 2013

Dear Homefront,

Well, we've had a pretty interesting week here in the VRM.  Its been somewhat the same for us here weather wise.  The first part of the week was very warm and then we've had about three days in a row now that have been overcast with more of those crazy Virginia rainstorms that make you really wonder whether the Lord is about to send another flood. ;)

--- is still doing amazing, and is really excited about her upcoming baptism on the 1st.  We are really excited for her as well.  One of my favorite things about my mission has been to be able to watch the lives of so many people begin to be filled with pure joy as they gain a greater understanding of the purpose of life and God's role as their Heavenly Father.  And being able to join in that joy has been such a blessing in my life as it helps to build my faith even more as well.

This week we had Stake Conference.  I really enjoyed it.  The Stake Presidency has really been putting a focus on member missionary work and on the importance of the temple.  During the Saturday adult session, they had asked Elder and Sister Stock to speak.  Due to a lesson that ran over, we were a little late and so we missed Sister Stock and only caught about half of Elder Stock's address.  He spoke about some of his experiences as a missionary and with family history work, and reemphasized the call from President Monson for us to be engaged in family history and then, when the time comes, to fill full-time missions with our spouses.  President Scott, the Stake President, spoke about the importance of temples in both sessions.
In the Sunday session, they had invited both President and Sister Perry to speak about missionary work, as well as President and Sister Swinton - the President and Matron of the D.C. Temple - to speak about the importance of regular temple attendance.  Honestly their remarks made me truly miss the temple and I felt somewhat chagrined at the fact that I did not make as much use of the temple as I easily could have.  They also had two youth speakers that both focused their talks on preparing to serve the Lord through seminary and Duty to God or Personal Progress.

On Sunday afternoon, we held regular church services at the Ft. Lee Branch due to the fact that it would not have been possible to receive the broadcast of stake conference.  For our first try at overseeing the Elders Quorum, I feel it went rather well.

Another item that made this week so interesting, and another first in my life:  we appeared on a radio show on Saturday in the early afternoon.  It was entitled "The Great Bible Debate" and the host had invited us in to debunk some of the "Mormon Myths," so with the approval of the local Public Relations rep., we did so.  I feel that we did alright, even though some of the questions were (I felt) obviously weighted or poorly worded.  However, I'm hopeful that at least some of the audience will visit mormon.org or attend church and we might get a couple referrals out of it all.

I don't remember if I told you that I was able to complete my orientation for school?  I also spoke to my academic advisor and it looks like everything is just about settled.  I'm going to have to work hard though to keep everything on track.  I also need to do a little more research and choose another minor besides the military science in order to fulfil requirements for the secondary educators program.  I think that if it would work for that requirement, it might be fun to minor in the "classics" and study mythology and Latin and stuff like that, and I feel it would further the history degree.  But I still have some research and some pondering and praying to do before I make my final decisions.

As always, I love you all.  Take care and I'll see you all in about 9 weeks.

With much love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts

PS:  Don't be sad that I'll have to leave soon again after coming home.  Think of the positives, I'm not completely cut off and I'm only about 100ish miles away instead of 2500!  Love ya.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


13 May 2013

Dear Homefront,

First off, Happy Mother's Day to all mothers present, future, and alternative.

Well, this has been a very eventful week here in the VRM.  And yet, not a whole lot has really happened.

One of the biggest pieces of news is that we now have two people set with baptismal dates.  Both --- and now also --- have accepted 1 June as their goal to be ready for baptism into the Church.  It has been absolutely wonderful to be able to get to know and work with both of them.

The other really big piece of news came just on Saturday.  During the activity, President Brandeberry pulled us aside and asked us to serve as an unofficial Elders Quorum presidency for the Branch.  That really entails overseeing the instruction during the Priesthood class and that the sacrament is taken care of.  I personally feel that it is an amazing opportunity for us to be much more involved and get to know the soldiers one on one.  We still can't go to the barracks because that's deemed as "proselyting" which is illegal on federal installations, but it allows us much more freedom in our interactions with them during church.  It is a lot of additional responsibility, however, I feel the benefits outweigh that.

Other than all of that, it's just been work as usual out here.  It's still weird to think that I only have two months left.  I look forward to seeing you all then.

With much love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


6 May 2013

Dear Homefront,

This week has been a long one, but a very good one.  In the awesome news, ---, one of our investigators has committed to baptism on 1 June.

To answer your question, yes, there were some tornado watches in the surrounding area and some pretty decent storms a couple weeks back.  To my knowledge, there were no touchdowns anywhere near me and no damage done.  Obviously, I'm safe enough to still be writing this letter. ;)

I got the packages earlier this week.  Thank you.  I do like the tie, not as much as the Evans tie, but I still do.  And no, it is most certainly not the craziest missionary tie I've seen.  I haven't made the goodies yet because I honestly haven't been working out like I should, for a combination of reasons, so I've been feeling somewhat fat and trying to eat a little healthier.  I really enjoyed the missionary stories about my ancestors.  Since being on my mission, I've discovered a desire to do family history work, then I logged onto familysearch.org and realized that I was vastly out of my league where everybody that I probably could've found on my own has already been found and all the info updated.  I still would like to learn more about my ancestors and my roots.

On my mission, I've also gained a deeper reverence for the sabbath day as I have for the gospel as a whole. Part of that reverence has come from a deeper understanding of the Sacrament.  This week we had some really powerful lessons.  In Hopewell, the Elders Quorum studied President Uchtdorf's talk from the last Priesthood session which goes through four titles he feels apply to every priesthood holder in the world.  In Sunday School, Brother Murray (funny as usual) led a discussion of the lesson "The Church of Jesus Christ Today" from the Gospel Principles manual.  He just has a way of teaching that makes it both fun and engaging, no matter how many times you've heard the material.  In the Ft. Lee Branch, Brother Morgan gave the lesson from Elder Perry's last conference address entitled "Obedience to the Law brings Freedom." It's interesting to think that society as a whole only really has laws in place to enforce obedience to four of the original ten commandments the Lord gave to Moses.  The laws of the land keep shifting their standards whereas the laws of God remain sure and everlasting.

I'm grateful for the solid foundation the Gospel provides in my life.  I know where I stand and what is right. I love the Lord.

Stay safe, stay happy.  Keep fanning the flames of faith.

With much love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts

Thursday, May 2, 2013


29 April 2013

Dear Homefront,

Things have been going well here in the VRM.  Most of the week was spent getting Elder Huntzinger and Elder Starks packed up and ready to go.  Elder Huntzinger flew out on Tueday morning and Transfer meeting was Thursday.

My new companions are both pretty good guys.  Elder Joyner, from Logan UT, was in my MTC district, so he'll also be flying home with me.  Before his mission, he was a CNA at the same nursing home where Grammy stayed.  Elder Stagg, from Chandler AZ, has been out for 6 months and up until now, has spent his entire mission in Yorktown.  He's a bit of a philosopher and has a really powerful testimony.

So far so good in our new companionship.  We all seem to get along fairly well and have personalities that mesh.  Only time will tell how things will all work out.

Other than transfers, not very much excitement has happened this past week.  Hopefully things will really pick up this week.  We have some good prospects and once things get settled we should be up and running.

Love you lots,
-Elder John Y. Roberts

PS:  I'll be on the lookout for those packages.  I was kinda thinking about the question of what I'd like for my birthday--honestly I thought it might be better for money to be saved on presents and then when I get home perhaps get a smaller/cheaper tablet or netbook that I can use for school for notes and the like.
PPS:  Looking ahead to Mother's Day.  We have church from 9-12 and 130-430 our time so it'll probably be in the evening that I'll call.  Most likely between church and dinner or after dinner depending on how things work out.
PPPS:  Yes I got the email from Cindy.  Thank you for that.
PPPPS:  Love you!