Monday, June 24, 2013


24 June 2013

Dear Homefront,

Well, the end is really approaching now.  I got the first installment of my "Trunky" paperwork from the mission office which included a small note from President Perry and my flight itinerary.  My official fly date is 16 July, and I should be landing around 7:30 pm local time.  The thing that I find the most interesting, is that I have no fear in my heart about returning home like some of the missionaries I've known.  I feel comfortable with what I have accomplished and ready to face new and exciting challenges in the coming phases of my life.  I know that those feelings are not my own, but rather come from a loving Father in Heaven who has blessed me repeatedly with feelings of peace in times of upheaval and change.

This week was a good one here in the VRM.  There was a World Wide Leadership Training Broadcast last night about hastening the work of salvation - essentially, Missionary Work!  There are many new changes that are going to happen in the way missionary work is done to keep up with this new age and on the digital frontier.  There is also a new emphasis being placed on the roles of the Bishop, Ward Mission Leader, and on regular member missionaries resounding the calls of President Benson, and President Hinkley.  I'd invite everyone to visit and see what it means to them.

Other than that, this week was a little slow, but still very good.  We've been spending quite a bit of time working through the ward roster to try and visit everybody, including less active members, as well as working on finding more new investigators.  So far, we haven't seen very much fruit, but I know that seeds are being planted and cultured so that they might grow and be ready for others.

I just can't explain quite all of the feelings I have as I stand at this point.  With all these exciting new changes coming out right as I prepare to return home, I'm yet reminded of a conversation I had with President Perry where he told me that it was not coincidental that I had entered the service of the Lord prior to the "surge" or that I had been where I was, when I was.  The Lord had needed me.  And now I feel that the Lord still has need of me, just in different ways.  I can use the things I have learned here and now and be in his service every day.  Though I will soon no longer wear the black tag, I am still the Lord's servant and can make myself useful in his hands.  I know that is true for us all, if we allow the Lord to use us.

I love you all and am excited to see you.  Stay safe, stay happy.

With love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts

PS:  I'll keep an eye out for the package.

PPS:  I need to talk to Dan sometime about the army.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


17 June 2013

Dear Homefront,

First things first, Happy Fathers Day to all Fathers present and future.  Also, a very happy Flag Day to all my fellow patriots.  Another week is gone for us here in the VRM.  This past week has been kinda slow, but still really good.

On Tuesday, we had the Farewell Mission Conference for President and Sister Perry.  It was a very emotional day for much of the mission.  Elder Burton, our new "Car Czar" (Fleet Coordinator) is probably the most creative out of the three I've had over the course of my mission.  He asked everybody to be at the conference a half hour early with their hoods up and trunks open and he went through and inspected all the vehicles.  He then gave a prize to the best car in the mission (unfortunately not us).  During the conference he also showed some of the training videos that I've never before seen.  Then both of the Assistants gave trainings on the topic of what makes a successful missionary.  Sister Perry, as part of her last remarks, had prepared a list of "The Best of Sister Perry," or things that she most commonly was known to say.  The list was as diverse as Sister Perry can be, including humorous things like "Eat REAL Food" and "Use Hand Sanitizer" to more serious topics such as "No matter how far you fall, you are never out of the reach of the Atonement."  Following Sister Perry's remarks, President opened the floor to a Q&A session.  At the close of the meeting, President and Sister Perry shook all our hands one last time.

I don't know how President Wilson is going to do it.  He has some very large shoes to fill.

Other than the conference, not a whole lot happened this week.  We took advantage of some of the down time to update our maps and records so that we could regroup and work more effectively throughout the rest of the transfer.

It is still crazy to think about how close the end is.  I'll do my best to keep working hard and go right up until the end.

Stay safe, stay happy, and I'll see you all in a couple weeks.

With much love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts

PS:  I thought we'd decided that Dad didn't want to cut my mission short by picking me up, so I'll most likely just fly home.  But I would really love to go up to Washington for the Perry's homecoming address.

PPS:  I'm not sure exactly how the grant will work if I leave after the first semester, however still would rather get some and have to give some back than get nothing.  Thank you for filling that out.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


10 June 2013

Dear Homefront,

Boy, was this week busy for us ... or at least yesterday was.  Oh well.  This morning I'm feeling better and have much more energy than I have had in quite a while.  Not quite sure why yet, but it feels good.

So the rest of the week palls in comparison to the work load we had yesterday at church.  We sure were kept hopping.  At Hopewell, Elder Stagg was speaking in Sacrament, we taught Sunday School, and very nearly had to teach Elder's Quorum.  At Ft. Lee it was even more hectic.  I had a speaking assignment in Sacrament meeting, then my companions taught Elder's Quorum while I was in the other room with one of our members and a couple people who wanted to learn more, answering their questions.

All in all, it made for a very spiritual, but very exhausting day.

The rest of the week was pretty normal, but still somewhat busy.  Monday was really our only relaxing day. Just as a preparation day should be! ;)  The transfers came and went without much effect on us as none of us were getting moved and surprisingly it was the first time that I didn't feel the slump of transfer week in our work.  There honestly seems to be an unwritten law that the week of transfers, regardless of if you're staying or leaving, the work slows way down and not much gets done.  But for whatever reason, it didn't seem to happen this time.

Whatever the reason, I'm glad because as a missionary, it is far better to have much to do and to be busy.  It is a good feeling when you feel filled with purpose.

About Dad's desire for a road-trip, I'm fine with it if that's what he wants to do.  Just let me know.

Unfortunately, I find that I have squandered most of my time with ramblings.  I love you all, and I'll try to write a little more later in a letter when I'm feeling a little more focused.

Stay safe and happy.
With much love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts

Thursday, June 6, 2013


3 June 2013

Dear Homefront,

Well, the transfer results are in.  I'll be staying in Hopewell (and in the Virginia Richmond Misson), with my current companions (Elders Joyner and Stagg) until the end of my days as a missionary.  This also means that I will be setting a new record for the mission.  I will have spent roughly 15 months here, nearly 3/4 of my entire mission!

This week was fairly hectic.  All culminating in the wonderful baptismal service we had on Saturday for ---.  I am so happy for her as she is now one of the newest members of the Lord's restored church.  The spirit was really strong during the service, and --- was just absolutly beaming.

This week also brought about a huge surprise for us.  On Sunday, I noticed the entire Stake Presidency seated on the stand when I entered the chapel just before Hopewell's sacrament meeting.  My mind swiftly flashed through all the possibilities and just before the meeting started I felt I knew what was going to happen.  Well, the Hopewell ward recieved a new Bishopric.  Bishop Vance was replaced by Bishop Bishop (no, that is not a typo, that is his actual name) with Bro. Murray and Bro. Erickson (the old ward mission leader) as his counselors.

And that wasn't the only major change that has happened either.  Elder and Sister Stock have finished their missions and Elder and Sister Hall have just arrived to fill their place as Military Relations Missionaries at Ft. Lee.

There is a lot happening all around us, even as we prepare for more change with the coming of two new mission presidents and the splitting of the mission.  Major changes as the Lord hastens His work.

I love you all.  Be safe, be happy.  And I'll see you all in 6 weeks.

With much love,
-Elder John Y. Roberts