Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 9: Wisdom from the Italian Stallion

Entonces (So) this week was a fun one. We had zone conference where we got kind of chastised for our numbers, but president loves us and shared multiple ways to have more success, and it worked! We got two baptismal dates for the 22 of March, which is so exciting. It means that the Spirit is testifying and my Spanish may be improving. Dioni the lady who cooks for us only does lunch and dinner, and for the next two weeks it will only be lunch, so breakfast and dinner will be "fend for ourselves", but Elder Giraldo and I can make some pretty decent meals - so there is that! 

We had some cool experiences finding some new investigators with prayer. So, we are walking up our street. It´s 8 to 8:30 and we are contacting or finding... we get to two houses with the doors open and the light on, which in Honduras is really the norm. So I said a quick prayer and we chose one of the houses. There is no knocking in Honduras, you simply yell, or say "BUENAS" depending on how far the door is. SO I said it and this lady walks up and says hello, I responded "Hola hermanita como está" She responds "mas o menos" and I continue "nosotros somos misioneros para la iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los últimos días y nosotros tenemos un pequeño mensaje para usted. ¿Podemos compartir este mensaje?" and she says yes! We are invited inside and are pleasantly surprised to see that her mother and daughter in the living room. So a day with no new investigators, changed to three at the end of our night, which was crazy! We shared the gospel of Jesus Christ and said that we would come back around the same time next week, and they responded happily, "yes, of course!" So, we have some pretty enthusiastic new investigators! I love this work and the people. Whenever we are allowed in, the people are so kind and happy to listen and answer. We hardly ever run into people who want to bible bash. 

Anyway about our area... and a kind of frustrating story with an investigator. We called her and wanted to make an appointment. We made the appointment at this river where she would be washing clothes. The river is River or Rio Armendarez. We didn´t realize how far this stinker was at a 1 hour walk! So we are walking and the entire walk is just up and down these hills, so going back isn´t more downhill, its equal so it sucks. When we get to the meeting place and look for our investigator she isn´t there. So we have to turn around and walk all the way back with no rest. This experience reminded me a lot of Trek. Just when you finish something hard and think you´re pretty much done... you start your next leg and realize that you have to tackle something just as hard or harder! Elder Giraldo and I didn´t lose hope. We journeyed the hour back to Campamento and then went on another 20 minute walk to another investigator. They were there! We taught them which was a nice break. Saturday was the hardest day of my mission thus far.  I haven´t lost hope though, because the Lord is blessing us with continued success. I´m quite content. I´ll gladly take on more walks through the shadow of the valley of death if we can be rewarded with success in the end. 

I love this work and the people! It is trying and aggravating at times, but I still love to work and teach. When I get to sit down and teach I am rejuvenated and full of hope for more success! 

Love you guys!  I want you guys to know that I love hearing from you. Keep the emails and the letters coming. I can´t send them right now, but I get them at every zone conference, I think, or they send them to the zone leaders and then they distribute them. I´m so looking forward to what next week will bring, and for your new letters to come in! 

Love all of you, keep trucking and you´ll be continually blessed. It is my testimony, I know it´s true, and I have received blessings and help with my work here in Honduras. When life is hard and gets you down, keep getting back up! I owe that line to Rocky, it gets me through the hard days... and the easy ones!

Hasta Luego!!!
"Life's not about how hard you hit: it´s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.
How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done." ~Rocky Balboa
(or just hold a puppy)
main road in JUTICALPA
agua for all that walking!


Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 8: Service Opens Doors

Elder Roberts and Elder Giraldo hard at work

So this week was pretty fun. We had some success and some failure; but, that's expected right? We got a lot of new church investigators but a lot of appointments are falling through with our investigators; so, we are really trying to teach by the spirit and let some of our words, as men, be transmitted in the feelings of the Spirit. 

Teaching together is sometimes especially hard when I explain something how, I feel, the spirit directs me and Elder Giraldo thinks it is just my way of explaining; and so, explains it in a way that is a little more complicated. I speak very simple Spanish; whereas, he can explain things very well in Spanish. It`s super hard to testify when it`s so hard to understand what the people are saying! But when I "get it" I know what it is the spirit is really directing me to say. So, a few investigators are kind of confused; because, there is a really simple way of the doctrine being taught and a very complex way and two different styles has brought confusion. Elder Giraldo is really good! I feel the spirit when he teaches, it's just the doctrine may be hard for the people to understand. He is a convert and the only member in his family. He converted at 16 and is now 21 on his mission. He's old, one of the oldest in the zone, so that's something. 

Dania and Ariel are the couple we are trying to help get married; but, they are having problems and were talking about separating and now are together. It is aggravating because Ariel doesn't want to be married and/or separate so we can`t invite him to be baptized if they aren't married but living together. Still, he's agreed with our lessons and the principles of the gospel we have taught. So there`s that problem and the fact that the people of our scheduled appointments are always working or gone etc. So, it's tough to get in to talk to them. It's frustrating because they readily accepted us and scheduled an appointment to have us back when we contacted them...but nobody home when we come back.

I had my first run in with a guy who wanted to rob me (see pic). He cut my arm with this dull knife while trying to cut my shoulder strap on my bag. My companion started telling him off in Spanish (he does a better job than me.) The guy came back at me and was trying to take my bag so I hit him. He ran off and we haven`t seen him since. We talked to the Mission President and he says if we see him again to avoid him at all costs, and if he antagonizes us  that we may need to be sent to a different area, which would be sad. I hope I never see him again, but also wish that he would find a different line of work, so that in the future missionaries can find him (not me though), and teach him.  All of these people are special, the guy had nothing. He was only trying to make a buck on my bag.  I feel sorry. It happened so fast. I should have dropped some money or something because he was dirt poor and probably just trying to feed his family. 
The scars from the knife that tried to snatch my scripture bag
Every Thursday we go to Cacao which is a 35 minute walk uphill (it feels like everything is uphill some days.) Most of the pictures that I have taken have been in Cacao because it`s so beautiful, and a lot of the members live there. 
It was a cool experience cutting wood with the Branch President.  He told us his conversion story, about how some missionaries came and cut firewood for him, and then taught a lesson. He told us that after he wanted to hear more from these people who do work for free... and a month later was baptized. Service opens doors and is great! 

Beautiful area of Cacao
We did 5 hours of work for a member just cleaning his backward and extending his dirt porch. We were tired but really happy after. 
There is always service to be done - like chopping wood!
You won't find these hanging around Vegas
Love all of you! I've uploaded some pictures so you guys can see the area I am in. 
Looking down the hill into Campamento
You know that story about footsteps in the sand and Jesus walking
next to you throughout your life?
That doesn't happen on this sidewalk. We go single file.
Where's Elder Goad? This might still be fresh enough for Arkansas Elders...

I've got to close, I just want you to know these people are definitely different; but that I`m happy to be here! I know this work is true and when my first baptism comes, or just when I see that light come into that person's eyes that they understand, I'll be all the more happy because I'm doing my job. I know Jesus is the Christ, and that I'm his representative. I know I have a lot of work to do. When it gets hard I always remember His life was so much harder. When I go through the trials I can stand shoulder to shoulder with Him and say I am his disciple and I know He is my/our Savior. 

Love all of you so much!
hasta luego próximo semana.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week 6 and 7: To See Our Weaknesses Become Strengths

After the rain in Campamento

So sorry I didn´t get to email last week! I really wanted my last week to be from fresh memory; but, I guess the Lord is testing my memory! The last week was definitely the hardest one because we had made a lot of friends in the staff and we had to tell them all goodbye. 

We had a final devotional with President Morris (the mission president of the CCM) and his wife; and it was really touching. Hermana Morris told us a story about a water bearer for his master´s house, who would go down to the river with two pots and fill them with water and carry them back on pole over his shoulders. One of the pots was absolutely perfect and new, while the other was cracked and old and would leak half of the water before returning to the master´s house. One day, the cracked pot said to the water bearer "I´m sorry I´m not like the other pot -new and able to carry all of the water I'm asked to carry" but the bearer turned to it and said "don´t fret! Look at the flowers on the road as we pass and tarry a while on the beauty of them." The pot agreed and was then lifted up and carried to the Master´s house. Upon arriving the pot was still discouraged so he responded again with a solemn apology. The bearer turned once more and said "Did you not see the flowers; did you not see their beauty? I know of your weakness; but, it is also a strength because when I saw those flowers dying and athirst, I would always place you on that side of the road so that the flowers may be fed and prosper." The pot was now ecstatic and thanked the Water Bearer for this uplifting message and carried out the rest of its time in happiness. 

I can only relate this to the message of the Savior with missionaries: We may feel inadequate, or even bad, but we have to know that our Savior and Father in Heaven know our strengths and weaknesses and will use them to help the people of our missions. This really spoke to me because I only have 6 weeks of Spanish, and it´s Guatemalan Spanish, but the Savior knows me and will help me to preach and help the people in my mission. 

I will miss Tyler Meek and all the members of my group but I know in two years we will all be so happy to have had the opportunity to serve.
seeing the Tegucigalpa Temple for the first time and meeting my companion
(Dad! You NEED to sketch this Temple!)

First week in Honduras 
The flight into Honduras was super cool! We all got a little motion sick, I have never been so close to the ground for that long in an airplane! We stopped in San Salvador for a bit on the flight. My new companion is Erick Giraldo he is from Colombia and has only had 3 months in the mission but he´s my trainer. Our first day in the mission was an orientation and then I spent the day with the assistants to the President. I got to sleep for a bit and then go out on splits with other Elders - I went with Elder Harrington from Iowa. We had a good time and I invited one of his investigators to be baptized -the man said no because some of his friends said it’s an abomination to be baptized twice! So, we left him a copy of the Book of Mormon and went on our way. I Almost got hit by a car on our way to the next appointment but it was still fun! 
Elder Giraldo and Elder Roberts
Glad to be a missionary, got some sweet blisters which are now callousing, I might add. In the first week, I swear we walked more than 3 trips to Disneyland (just to give you a reference for amount of walking). I had the opportunity to give two blessing of comfort for a family because they were having some pretty crazy experiences in their family; so, I got to do that in Spanish. 

The next day we went to my Area of Campamento in the Juticalpa zone. I didn’t have to pay for bedding because some of the missionaries leaving left theirs, so

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

He made it to Honduras!

The secretary of the Honduras Comayagüela Mision emailed our Bishop, our Stake President and Eric and I this afternoon letting us know that Christian made it to Honduras from the Guatemala MTC this afternoon! Here he is with his mission president and his wife at the airport...

Christian with President Ferman and his wife

Dear Elder Roberts’s Parents and Church Leaders, 
This email is to let you know that Elder Roberts arrived this morning to Tegucigalpa city, Honduras.  He is fine, and happy to be here in the mission field.  He is already assigned a companion and his area.  
We are grateful for your support towards him, and to be able to work shoulder to shoulder with him in this, the work of the Lord.

Thank You very much!

Elder Fanor A. Paz
| Secretario General |  Misión Honduras, Comayagüela | 
Telefóno +(504) 2239-7137 |  Cel +(504) 9564-1664


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Toncontin: The Airplane resistant airport

"You've done this before, right?"

Heyo! Elder Roberts' Dad (El Jefe... El Padre...El Guapo) checking in here for an informative interlude. Since Elder Roberts will be making his flight from the Guatemala CCM to the mission field in Honduras this next week, we thought it would be fun to share with everyone what this trip will be like. Elder Roberts is all prepared for the short flight between Guatemala City and Tegucigalpa... the real fun part is the landing.

Toncontin Airport has about 7000 feet of runway to land on for the pilots, which in and of itself it a pretty difficult thing to do considering crosswinds and navigation (LAX has over 9400 feet of runway). BUT to add fun to our adventure in Honduras, the runway is in the middle of a mountainous valley located approximately 6km outside of Tegucigalpa. The mountain ridges of this valley prohibit a straight forward approach to the runway and require a sharp turn and dive immediately prior to touching down. Considering that the pilots must also find the runway and position the airplane for landing I am sure there are plenty of white knuckle days and more than a few folks holding their breath. 

Here is a great video of one pilot making his approach into Toncontin:

Here is another view from the cockpit from another pair of pilots (you can skip the first 3 minutes unless you want a view of what Honduras countryside looks like): 

At the end of the video you can hear one of the pilots say to the other,
"Thats not fun. I don't like this one!"

Finally, just for fun, there are some pretty great pilots out there who can land some really big airplanes on some really little patches of dirt... (Go Air Force!)

We are excited for Elder Roberts to get to the mission field and begin this portion of his mission. We know that he is ready and willing to serve the Lord in Honduras. We are also eager to hear about this exciting part of the trip as his pilots endeavor to land his plane on this airplane resistant runway! What an adventure!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Week 5: The part where I can't wait to leave the CCM and I still hope this time never ends...

The Guatemala City Temple in the foreground with the CCM in the background
So, this is a hard and exciting letter, I have had such an amazing time in the CCM and have learned a lot! I was in the temple today and for some reason the spirit hit me so hard! I got into the celestial room and prayed my heart out in thanks and for some more help with the language and the gift of discernment.

I'm sorry about not explaining the split very well last week. Elder Stahlei going home and moving Elder Solomon and his new companion to the other district has been tough but I understand why they did it - we weren't progressing anywhere near as fast as we are now!

It was fun to look in the pocket calendar that Mom and Dad gave me for Christmas this week. I notice that Dad had marked the first Sunday in February as a special day of fasting for all missionaries so that the Angels will have a good pitching staff this year. That made me laugh. 

To give you an idea of what we do for exercise and stuff on our preparation day, we like to play basketball and volleyball and some weightlifting. I'm actually putting some muscle on that I lost (you can tell Brett that he better keep up!) I do 2-3 miles on a bike too but it's hard to do it all in only an hour. 

Mom asked about what I do as Zone Leader, mostly my job is to give a report on how the zone is doing every Sunday and make the sacrament schedule and stuff. 

I have really become close with Elder Sydney Solomon from Anaheim, California and Elder Travis Busby From New Zealand. I hope to maintain the relationships throughout my mission. I love these Elders. Elder Busby knows the hakka and did it in goodbye for Elder Valentine and Staheli, it was pretty cool. 

Yesterday we had an awesome devotional by one of the Area Seventies and it was awesome! (I can't place his name) But he spoke of his mission and baptizing 36 people in one day because he acted in faith. I got the opportunity to teach with Elder Darling because my companion, Elder Meek, got sick and I needed a companion for my lesson. Elder Darling did really well,