Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 Dec 29 letter

Spent all week staying at the Graham's house.  We had a wonderful Christmas with them and a "spiritual one" they said.  On the 23rd and the 24th we handed out over 100 He Is The Gift cards. We were on fire and handing them out everywhere we could.  We felt pretty successful and got to meet a few awesome people to check up on later and maybe teach.  Including Clara, who loves BYU Cougars and watches BYU TV all the time even though she is not familiar with the Mormon church.  Can't wait to go and try to teach her.  Occasionally you'll knock on someone's door who like watching BYU TV for some reason.  It's kind of funny, but also a miracle.   

Christmas Day we got to sleep in until 8 am!  BEST DAY OF THE YEAR FOR MISSIONARIES!  Overall, Christmas as a Missionary is the best kind of Christmas there is. Then we opened presents with the Graham's on the living room floor.  The Graham's were even sweet enough to give us stockings stuffed with candy! Yummy!  I really appreciated all that they had done for us.  Then we had a huge breakfast with cinnamon rolls, eggs, bacon, hash browns and biscuits. Talked with our families on the Graham's iPhones. Played scrabble with Taylor (she's in High school) and Sister Graham for a few hours, watched 17 miracles, had dinner over at the Butler's, then came back to the Graham's house and watched Ephraim's Rescue until after 10.  It was a jam packed day but it was really fun.  Anyone who is reading this that sent me a Christmas package or letter, thank you!  I really appreciated that kind gesture and it made my Christmas a good one.

We were also able to teach Shelly twice this past week and she is starting to open up to us more and more.  We really love teaching her and becoming her friends.  She is super sweet and she has the cutest baby girls I have ever seen.  I can't wait to see her learn and grow and find a better life and a happier one too.  And I am grateful that I am blessed to have met her and get to help her at this pivotal point in her life.  She is glowing.

The Saitos (incredible member Marshallese family) had all the missionaries over to their house Saturday for a big lunch and we had a lot of fun there.  Brother Saito is the most kind and selfless man I have met in Dubuque.  He had chopped up for all 6 of us the most tasty, pretty salad bowls and then we not only have the best homemade fried chicken, but we have white rice, fried rice, potato salad, fried potato wedges, steak, Hawaiian rolls, chocolate chocolate-chip muffins, chocolate chip cookies, three different kinds of juice to choose from and a few other things I left out of the list.  So grateful for their kindness.

Really praying that I get to stay in Dubuque for the rest of my mission. I want to see Sister Roberts off to her home in Utah at the end of February and then pass off the area before I head home as well.  My New Year's wish. 

Happy New Year!
Sister Robertson


 

Monday, December 22, 2014

PICTURES!!

December 17th in Dubuque --from the online newspaper ...

A drive by shot of a neat restaurant in Bellevue, Iowa next to the Mississippi River.

A picture of what ski resorts look like in places where there are no mountains. It's kind of fuzzy, but you can still get an idea from it. It's like a bunny hill next to the river.

Brother Pellet with his accordion at the Ward Christmas breakfast.
My companion, Sister Roberts, and our friend Leah at the Ward Christmas breakfast.

A missionary selfie in the car ready to go knock on some doors because you never get to see pictures of me at work.


Our District Christmas pictures (it didn't turn out too great).
Our bathroom I just cleaned up this morning with the Nativity stickers Mom sent me on it. (Nativities are a family tradition)


This is what the Reynold's house is like at Christmas. This is where the sister missionaries live --that means me!

2014 Dec 22nd letter from Dubuque, Iowa

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  

We had a really busy week between the normal work in Dubuque and meetings and exchanges over down in Clinton, Iowa.  To Start off I have the neatest story from going on exchanges with Sister Harmon in Clinton and I have been waiting all week to write it to you:  

We went to go see a war veteran named Paul with one of the Clinton ward members.  He was a very old and humble man in very low-income circumstances.  Not who you would expect to see Sister Missionaries teaching. We were able to review over the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him over an hour and Sister Harmon extended a baptism invitation to Paul.  I was getting a little restless because of the late hour and being really hungry.  I felt myself kind of wishing the lesson would end so we could get out of there when Paul started mumbling, "this girl... she gave me something before she moved to Utah before thanksgiving."  Paul bent over and reached under his bed and pulled out a leather bound Quad.  Me and Sister Harmon dropped our jaws and just stared at him completely Astonished.  And when we recovered from this our Astonishment we closed the lesson and were able to go in for the night.  We were not expecting this nearly homeless man to pull out the scriptures of the the Restored Gospel out from under his bed.  It was one of the miracles from this week. I can't stop telling people about it because it blows my mind.   So maybe a word of advice.  If you are a member of the church and you want God to send missionaries to someone you know.  Hide a Quad under their bed.  Maybe that just might work. 

Sister Roberts and I set a baptism date with our new investigator named Shelly this past Friday. She wasn't able to make it to church but we have high hopes for her this next Sunday.  She asked "oh yeah! What do I need to do to be ready?"  I am so grateful we found her and I hope we will be able to help her reach Baptism either by or before February 14th. 

Also, Sister Swift finally made it to Sacrament meeting for the first time since I have been serving in Dubuque (since August 1st).  She has a lot of pain and health problems because of old age, but seeing her try her hardest to be at church yesterday was a great act of courage for her and I am so proud of her. 

Both Dubuque Wards put on a Christmas breakfast party Saturday morning.  Br. Pellet played Christmas Carols with his Accordion and a bunch of different groups of members did really fun skits and songs and also the Marshallese people sang some beautiful Marshall Island Christmas songs for us.  Sometimes they sing God Be With You Till We Meet Again at farewell parties and you about cry cause you picture yourself as the Elder in the movie The Other Side of Heaven as he's leaving the Island.  Sorry, that visual was a little silly, but very accurate.  

Today we are packing up our stuff and cleaning our room and doing loads of laundry in order to move over to the Graham's house later tonight.  The Reynold's have too many family members visiting for the next week so we are getting out of their way.  You can still send mail over to the same address though because we'll be back there throughout the week. 

So far we have two or three thanksgiving style Christmas Dinners we are going to between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  It's only Monday and we're getting a ham and sweet potato dinner tonight too.  So if i look a bit fluffy in my Christmas pictures, this is why. lol!  If any of you have seen Jim Carey's The Grinch movie, picture the seen where he is Cheer Meister and they're piling spoons of food in his Mouth, this is Dubuque at Christmas time.  Not exaggerating. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with friends and family.
Don't forget what this season means and who we worship, our Savior Jesus Christ. 
The Gift that thieves cannot break through and steal and which moth and rust cannot corrupt. 

LOVE,
Sister Robertson

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2014 Dec 15th from Dubuque, Iowa

The mission starts to get weird when you're now on email basis with a bunch of your companions who aren't missionaries anymore.  Almost two weeks ago my trainer, Sister Despain, and one of my best friends on the mission, Sister Woodbury, both left their missions and went back to real life again.  They've been telling me how weird it feels to not be a missionary anymore.  I'm definitely not looking forward to that point.  Glad I have at least 3 and a half months left and I hope it goes by slower than the last 15 months!  Sister Woodbury even went to Germany which is not technically her original home.  She just sent me pictures of cool German castles.

This past week we found a new investigator named Shelly who was living at the same address as one of our former potential investigators a few months ago.  A young mom of two of the cutest little girls I've ever seen.  When we talked to her she said it was weird we stopped by because she was thinking about God earlier that day and had a lot of question about life, death and what happens to us after.  I know that God sent us to her door that day.  When we taught her the Restoration lesson on Thursday and read the account of the first vision of Joseph Smith we asked her if she thought it could really happen and she said "Oh Yeah!" We then asked her if she had any questions for us about it and she just said "I don't know, I'm just mind blown right now! I've never heard this before!"  We are praying that we can still meet with her and teach her more about the plan of Salvation and invite her to baptism.  We haven't had a progressing investigator to teach in the longest time and we are both really excited for Shelly.  It's hard to find people living in Dubuque who care to listen to our message. 

On Friday this past week, we drove all the way to Nauvoo for our Christmas Zone Conference meeting at the Stake Center there.  We woke up at 3, left by 4 am from Dubuque, met up with the Clinton sisters an hour and a half away by 5:30 and drove from there to Nauvoo by 9 am.  The meeting went until around 5 pm and then we repeated the drive back home and got home close to 10.  We were both really exhausted!  But it was a good day.  Spent the drives singing Christmas songs and other songs we liked before the mission and talking about whatever.  At Zone Conference we heard some good talks from our leaders, we were then fed the equivalent of a Thanksgiving Dinner for our Lunch with fancy place settings, then we had all the Districts do their skits on the stage, followed by a showing of Ephraim's Rescue at the end of the day. The skits were all very clever.  Ours involved the Brother of Jared barges and what that would have been like, including the smell inside, stow-away "Gentile friends"- the Marshallese Elders, and one of the Elders had an Elk, goose and a duck call that he used throughout for the animals.  It ended up being really funny.  Just a time for younger missionaries to goof around and laugh and not have to work.  

Saturday night both Dubuque wards put on the Christmas Cantata show for members and non-members.  There weren't as many non-members as we hoped would come that we invited, but that's usually how church events go anyways.  The choir and orchestra did really well and the Hart family was a live nativity set up during the refreshments.  They did a really great job setting it all up.

I can't believe Christmas is in almost a week or so.  Then I realize that I spent the entire year of 2014 in Iowa on my mission and it's kind of weird.  It doesn't feel like it has been an entire year. Maybe 6 months tops.  Time really flies by on the mission.  Sister Roberts has about 9 weeks left and once she goes home I only have 6 weeks left!  Scary!
If you haven't heard of the HUGE Initiative going on right now in the Church go to:
Mormon.org/Christmas and watch "HE IS THE GIFT."  This is a big missionary effort and it's large scale including an ad that has a month long residence on the mega-tron on Time Square in New York City and ads on YouTube.  Please share this link with everyone you know, especially people who do not know about the restored Gospel!  Refer them to missionaries! It will only be available for a short time.

I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas and being able to spend this time of year enjoying yourself and being around good friends and good people.  Remember to express your gratitude for the Savior Jesus Christ as well as for all the people in your life who have been there for you.  
Merry CHRISTmas!

Love,
Sister Robertson

p.s. AND if you go to the store and the food or item you want to buy specifically have two different visual options to pick from: (1) Happy Holidays, or (2) Merry Christmas. LOL!  Please pick the Merry Christmas one!  I can't stand Happy Holidays.  Ridikilus!  I was at Aldi's today getting groceries and each brand of Christmas chocolates had two different packaging so people could pick if theirs had Christ on it or not.  So Silly. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

2014 Dec 8 letter from Dubuque, Iowa

I'm excited about this week.  On Friday we get to drive 3.5 hours down to Nauvoo for our Zone Conference meeting.  We'll have pictures, lunch provided, skits on the stage, sit down and watch a movie as well as listening to some advice and counsel from our leaders.  It will be a whole day event and i'm excited to so Nauvoo again.  It's farther away now that i'm in Dubuque so I can't see it as often anymore. The next time I will get to go after Friday is my departing temple trip a week before I get released as a missionary in April.  Me and Sister Roberts are already excited for our road trip and picked out snacks to bring for the car ride already.  That's how much we love each other.
 
This past week we had another Marshallese party as a farewell to Ronnie who just got home from a mission this past summer and is headed to UVU for school.  I love the culture the Marshallese have of showing their respect and appreciation for people in their lives.  They go all out on the food and invite tons of people just for one person and sing them goodbye songs (Marshallese songs "Goodbye so long" and "God be with you till we meet again" etc.) and throw money at them.  Watching it makes you tear up because it is a very special thing.  Whenever a missionary gets transferred they throw one of these parties for them as well. 
 
We got to watch the Christmas Devotional at the church Sunday night.  The one thing that stood out to me (and some of my thoughts):  We all have to descend below "some things" in order for us to learn and grow and understand a little what it was like for Christ Himself to "descend below ALL things."  The gift being that because of what Christ did we only have to suffer a little compared to what it could've been.  No matter what you're going through Christ has true empathy for you and it was way worse for Him than for you.  It could've been way worse for us than for Christ if He wasn't there to save us.  I am grateful beyond comprehension for what He has done. He has freed us from the chains of death, physically and spiritual, allowing us to overcome ALL things because he descended below them ALL.  True freedom comes from living the restored Gospel, not doing whatever you feel like doing.
 
This past week was really good.  Still haven't been able to find new people to teach for a while, but the Spirit keeps leading us to new roads and new places and it is bound to lead to someone soon.  I have perfect fatih in this.
 

Sister Robertson

Monday, December 1, 2014

2014 Dec 1 Thanksgiving Pictures from Dubuque, Iowa

Carter Reynolds, the little boy we live with, colored these pictures for school. So funny it could be an internet Meme. I had to share it. WINTER IS COMING!!

Add caption

My companion Sister Roberts and Melinda -a little Marshallese girl --on Thanksgiving.

Companions --"Roberts squared"--Melinda, Sis Roberts and SIster Robertson at Marshallese Thanksgiving celebration.

It looks like Sister Roberts killed the Reynold's cat, Rocky...just kidding. It just looks like it.

My favorite girl in Dubuque--Leah and her trumpet Bella at church yesterday getting ready for the Christmas Cantata practice. 

2014 Dec 1 from Dubuque, Iowa

This past week we got 4 Invite to Thanksgiving dinner.  Typical holiday life of a full-time missionary.  So many people are concerned we are sad and won't get enough food.  We end up getting too much food and gain a bunch of weight, but I still appreciate how loving and thoughtful they all are. We are definitely blessed in abundance!  
Two of our Thanksgiving invites fell through last minute so we didn't end up bursting at the seems that day.  We spent our main dinner with the Laethem family and played some card games after. Later that evening we went to the Marshallese Thanksgiving party at the church gym for a few hours.  We had a pretty good day and there was lots of snow and the sun was shining too.

Our recent convert Sheila hadn't been to church in pretty long time because she has been sick and her daughter finally had her baby girl last week.  We were so happy to see her at church yesterday.  She really had missed the peace from the Spirit that is at the meetings.  That was our miracle for the week.

We also had Exchanges with the Sisters from Clinton and we were able to meet a ton of people. Rephrase that:  We were able to meet a ton of die hard Catholic people.  Dubuque is mostly Catholic plus a Catholic High School and two different Bible colleges, a nunnery and a Seminary Catholic Castle.  It's pretty intense and so are the people.  Just have to keep finding more people until we find those who are ready to take a leap of faith.  Sometimes people we meet with have a lot of deep questions about God and this life, but they have zero faith to find out for themselves. They drown us with questions but don't have the patience to listen to our answers.  So they stay where it's comfortable and deny the justice of God.  If there is a God, He has His Doctrine, there is one way to Him and that is HIS, one church, and one baptism.  He is not a God of confusion. Men confuse themselves. 

At our District Meeting this last Friday the Spirit was really strong.  There are a lot of things that the missionaries in Dubuque have been struggling with and every week Elder Whiting, our District Leader, always delivers the message we all need to hear.  You know that the words of your Leaders are the words of God, when they speak and reveal the truth and it strikes you to the core and motivates you to make the necessary changes and repent.  I am grateful to have leaders in the Church and leaders on my mission that are so in tune with the Spirit and have such an incredible relationship with God.  Trusting God is to trust your priesthood leaders. 

Today we are all waiting for our transfer calls from the AP's.  We will probably get ours after 8:00 tonight.  If you get a call before 10 in the morning you will either be called to a leadership position or training a new missionary.  Glad we didn't get one of those.  President and Sister Jensen expressed how much they love the Sister Robs squared companionship so we are pretty sure we are staying together one more transfer in Dubuque. 

Thanks everyone for the Birthday wishes.  They really warmed my soul. :)
I really love you all, friends and family that support me and care about me.
I really appreciate it deeply. 

Sincerely,
Sister Robertson



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2014 Nov 24 Pictures from Dubuque, Iowa

These two pictures are along the drive from Dubuque to Clinton, Iowa in the snow.



Brother Reynold's (where we live) likes to hunt. These pictures are of him having "fun" gutting two deer he got on his hunt in his garage. Yuck!



Bro Reynold's showed us where he hit the deer in the heart with an arrow --up close and personal. 

A cute deer I made to make up for the gross deer pictures. :\


A picture I drew for Sister Roberts. It is scenes of Iowa.

24 Nov 2014 letter from Dubuque, Iowa

This past week we finally started to see the missionary work in the Dubuque area pick up a little bit from what it has been.  On Friday I was led to go to several very specific locations in town and specific apartment and houses.  Every one of those I felt we needed to knock on had somewhere who has either met with missionaries in the past or has friends that are members.  None of them wanted to have us teach them, but you can tell God still uses us as tools to give them more chances to open up to it and Except it.  

The missionaries here joke that each person gets at least 7 contacts by the church or missionaries before they open up to baptism (supposedly).  This was just one of their 7.  We felt super successful from being led by the Spirit to these individuals.  A few of my companions have been impressed by my ability to "track" people down.  I've picked up the nick name of "the tracker" with a few of them.  Sometimes we just go knocking somewhere because there are people everywhere and we don't feel any kind of spiritual vibe coming from anywhere.  Other times I know where, down to the street and the very door.  We will end up driving to very different locations all over town just to knock on that one door and drive to the next, but that one person was there.  They were given another chance by God's messengers.  Being a missionary and having those spiritual gifts blow me away!  This work is the true.  Nothing else is as important as this.  Not Ever.

Saturday night we went to another Marshallese first birthday party where they put our dinner plates together for us which included a big raw fish head and some coagulated pig blood jello.  It was touching my chicken and rice... and neither of us could stomach it very well.  When we got home that night Brother Reynold's had hunted 2 deer and was gutting them in the garage downstairs with Allesandra, their younger teenage daughter who was the one to cut the deer open.  Me and Sister Roberts really wanted to watch. Gross and smelly and messy.  More Deer brats for Br. Reynolds I guess.  More queasy stomachs for us that night. 

Still haven't been able to set any baptism dates with anyone lately but we have chance with a few this week that we were led to recently.  Hopefully it goes well.

We had Interviews with President Jensen this last Tuesday.  Sister Jensen was crying because she said she can't believe how much I have changed on my mission and how much happier I am now.  I know that's true.  I am much happier.  So is Sister Roberts.  President Jensen hopefully will let us stay together in Dubuque through Christmas.  Really hope it happens!  Transfer calls start next Monday.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and they blow their silly diets for a day and just eat whatever they want.  Don't hold back. 

love
Sister Robertson 

p.s. If you have never heard of the "17 points of the True Church" written by someone who is not a member of the church.  Go find them and read it.  Maybe it's on Google, but i'm a missionary and I can't go find it for you.  It's incredible.  They line up exactly with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doctrine perfectly.  Highly recommend it and reading the subsequent scriptures included.

Friday, November 21, 2014

2014 Nov 17 pictures

Mission Tour Photo --Chelsie is the one on the floor at the far left side next to her companion, Sister Roberts.

The view out of our bedroom window on Sunday. Yuck!

2014 Nov 17 letter from Dubuque, Iowa

This past week we were privileged to drive all the way down to Iowa City in our car to attend "Mission Tour" conference at the Stake Center there.  We got to hear from our President Jensen and Sister Jensen and our guest speaker was Elder Craig A. Cardon of the First Quorum of the Seventy since 2012.  The whole meeting was really good and we were able to feel the Spirit and receive a lot of personal revelation and guidance.  The meeting started at 9 am and lasted until almost 4 because they served everyone a nice lunch in the cultural hall afterwards.  

Also got to see, for the last time, a lot of missionaries that are leaving their missionaries in a few weeks.  A bunch of them hadn't been out very long when I first got to Iowa.  My time is creeping up on me too fast!  I keep having endless dreams about me leaving the mission and being very upset that I didn't extend my mission.  I would do it in a heart beat if it was allowed, but it's not for the current time.   

It also snowed a TON here this past week compared to a normal November.  It has been below freezing in the single digits and teens for almost a week now and the rest of this week will be the same plus more snow. Busted out the boots, coats, and ice scrapers already and It isn't even Thanksgiving yet.  The farmer's almanac here has predicted this winter to be way worse than last year and last year beat records.  Scary!  This winter will be a fun one.  The Reynolds kids have already been wearing their snow pants and went sledding over the weekend behind the house.  I feel like summer was just a month ago.

A few weekends ago we were surprised with a plate of cookies and chocolate with cups of hot cocoa full  of marshmallows by one of the older Ladies from church that we visit every week.  Me and Sister Roberts were hungry and excited so we all said a prayer and I started going at the marshmallows and we found out after the first sip that it was not chocolate... it was cappuccino.  We couldn't smell anything but Marshmallows beforehand.  Great time to talk about the word of wisdom!  Awkward?  A little bit. 

Notes from Mission Tour Conference:

"the greatest sin in this world is the sin of ingratitude"... Jesus "took the cup and gave thanks," so find ways to express your gratitude by helping others.  Your hearts open up when you serve more.  "Even the pests can give us freedoms"  Recognize the blessings you receive, big and small...there are so many of our blessings that we overlook. 

"if [others] cast me out, Jesus takes me in."  We are never left alone.  Only Christ has the true empathy in which we are seeking for.  

Elder Cardon, "It is just as important to know when God does not speak as it is when He does."

"Listen...trust Him...there are many things you can do that are good."   

Love
Sister Robertson

Friday, November 7, 2014

2014 Nov 3rd --no blog this week but Chelsie sent this pictures to share.

The latest creation by Chelsie...this cute little moose. 


Fall colors in Dubuque, Iowa and the end of peak season.
This is what it looks like here in Dubuque, Iowa.

These two photos are out the back windows of the home where the sister missionaries currently reside. 


This is what it is like driving the rolling hills of Iowa.
The Elders and Sister Roberts with the cutest Marshallese Mickey Mouse at the Halloween party at the church.

Mickey Mouse at the Ward Trunk or Treat.


Monday, October 27, 2014

PICTURES!!

See the green lid on the plastic container of rice. They really love rice, chicken, and cooking whole pigs. These parties are so fun!

All of these pictures are all from a Marshallese first birthday party for a one year old. They really celebrate family and especially a healthy baby that made it through the first year. It's really neat.



2014 October 27th from Dubuque, Iowa

This past week has been a bit rough.  Me and Sister Roberts are pretty good friends now and we enjoy serving together, but we don't have a whole lot of people to teach.  We go out contacting less active members of the church and also go walking around town to meet new people and knock doors, but we have had bad luck with it.  Everytime we go knocking or finding we usually end up talking to only one person in several hours and they are all rude or grumpy.  Earlier in the week we were walking down a street and this old guy turned off his leaf blower and scowled and stared at us.  When I tried to be friendly and ask how he was doing and if he would like to hear a message about Jesus Christ he yelled, "I served in Vietnam.  I don't believe in a God anymore.  I'm the reason you're able to do what you're doing."  As sad war and violence is God never caused any of it, mankind did.  God doesn't make people hurt each other or kill each other, we made the choice to do it ourselves. 

A few days later during our Sunday Gospel Doctrine class one of our members commented on the lesson saying that he had served in the Vietnam War and had seen so many soldiers and civilians converted, changed and baptized.  What a difference in perspectives.  There are two things that the Book of Mormon specifically mentions will be problems in our day of those that do not possess faith in Christ: (1) people will blame God for all their problems and (2) people will look at life on Earth as a bottomless pit of misery and despair and that existence has no meaning instead of looking at it as a blessing from God to learn, grow and experience happiness and families. God doesn't force us to look at it a certain way, we choose for ourselves.  He gave us one of the greatest gifts, agency. 

 

Sister Roberts started reading "Jesus the Christ" by Talmage and that kind of re-inspired me to re-read it again for the second time.  If you want to understand who Jesus Christ is better and on a deeper level read that book!  It expands your view and appreciation for our Savior.  I also started reading "The Infinite Atonement" by Tad Callister.  It does a great job at breaking down every aspect of the Atonement and how it is and what it means.  Helps us wrap our minds around the uncomprehensible a little more than we could before.  I definitely recommend reading it if you can get a copy.  It's over 300 pages, but it's an easy read and not too hard to understand. 

 

Both wards have put together a Christmas Cantata singing group for this year and they have been pushing all the missionaries to be a part of it.  We went to our first practice last night and it was really fun and look forward to the kind of missionary work that it will open up in the near future.  They only meet up once a week for an hour on Sunday night and we've been riding up to the church with a Sister from the ward. 

 

Yesterday the Reynolds' kids carved their pumpkins and lit them up after we ate dinner with them.  It was a lot of fun.  The pumpkin I carved two weeks ago already molded out and got thrown away.  Carved it too early.  This Wednesday both wards are doing a combined Trunk or Treat activity.  We have been inviting people we know to come to it, less actives and investigators.  It will be fun.

 

Our only investigator we really have right now has been out of town all week and we haven't been able to get her to church or meet with her in a while.  Last time we saw her we introduced her to the Book of Mormon and she was so excited to get it and start reading it.  We'll just have to wait and see how that goes. Other than that the work is moving pretty slow and it is a struggle each day to find people to teach and stay busy and motivated.  Hard work always pays off at some point.

 

This past Saturday night all the missionaries were invited to a Marshallese First Birthday party at the church.  These are the most incredibly decorated, crowded, loud, food-provided parties I have ever seen for a baby turning one years old.  The Marshallese love to celebrate this last mark because usually babies have a tendency in the past to pass away before that age.  They are celebrating a healthy baby that has made it through the first rough year.  It's pretty neat.

The funny part about their parties is all the food they provide.  I send a picture of the container bins of rice that they were dragging into the church.  Insane!

They really love rice and they really love chicken and cooking whole pigs.  We have so much fun going to those parties.  Our next one is on the 22 of November.  Just around the corner.

 

Hope everyone is doing well and staying close to the Lord.  Talk to you next week.

 

Love,

Sister Robertson

 

Monday, October 20, 2014

2014 Oct 20th Pictures

These are special Marshallese goodbye parties for transferring missionaries. This time it was for Sister Randall.

They literally throw money at your feet and include homemade jewelry for the sisters.


We stopped to pick apples and pumpkins with the Penhallows on the drive back from the Iowa City transfer meeting.
This was fun! Take a close look.

2014 October 20th letter from Dubuque, Iowa

This past week was very busy and very stressful.  Sister Randall was called and transferred to my last area in Burlington Iowa and my new companion is Sister Roberts.  Transfer week is also really crazy and exhausting even if you're not being transferred.  Lots of changes and traveling throw you off and also worrying about who you're going to be stuck with for the next 7 weeks in which are three major holidays; Halloween, Thanks Giving and my birthday.  Sister Roberts was an answer to my prayers and we get along so well already and we are both on the same page and have very similar personalities.  We both are blessed to be in Dubuque together and I'm excited to see the Lord's work progress here over the next several weeks and months.  We both had Sister Woodbury as a companion in the past, so we have that in common.  My companion during Nauvoo Pageant, Sister Boone, finally went back home to Idaho Falls this past weekend.  I've already heard from her since she arrived home.  Time flies by so fast.
 
One of the Elder companionships got turned into a trio this past transfer.  So now we have 7 Elders and only 2 Sisters serving in Dubuque; we are pretty out weighed here.  Currently we haven't been able to get two of our investigators to church no matter what we do Sunday morning; including multiple annoying calls, texts and tapping on bedroom windows and doors (by request of the investigator of course! lol) and even a free cake bribe by Sister Randall before she left.  Nothing works.  We'll just keep working hard to find those who will.  Everyone has their time and their hour God is preparing them for and sometimes right now isn't going to be it no matter how much we want it to be. But we give it all we got so we're not accountable in a bad way later; aka. peace of conscience.  
 
Another one of our investigators was blessed, at the age of 35, to finally find and meet his biological father whom his Mother had hid from him his whole life.  He found out that all his grandfather's siblings lines and relatives are all members of the church in the mid west and I'm excited for him to meet them soon and see if they'll help him get baptized one day.  Still a slow moving story for now.
 
Sister Roberts is an incredible piano player, is half New Zealand and grew up in Spanish Fork, Utah where her family still lives.  She disproves of the Festival of Colors at the Krishna temple in Spanish Fork because it's dirty and crowded and so do I!  It's great to be on the same page!  We have the same personality, opinions and temperament and it has really brought the Spirit back and helped me a lot.  We were both an answer to each others prayers and I am grateful to serve with her.  It's going to be a good 7 weeks and hopefully longer.  I'd love to serve with her during Christmas too.  As a missionary you always hope for the good companion during the Holiday season so it doesn't suck.  I think I repeated myself quite a bit in this letter, but all that means is that I'm excited about what I said and It was apparently good enough to be repeated over again. 
We are "Roberts-Squared" according to President Jensen. He liked the idea of us serving together.He's a complete Goofball and will pair up a lot of missionaries with similar looks or names for fun.
 
 I'm grateful for my mission.  It has helped me to change, grow, be converted to the Restored Gospel, help other people, and receive and recognize hundreds of blessings I wouldn't have had without serving.  I would serve again in a heart beat if I had the money and I was allowed to, but probably not allowed to since I'm the oldest in the mission.  Maybe when I'm old and have tons of money (if I'm lucky enough!) I can serve again.  It's the most important thing you'll ever do besides family in this life.  If you're even thinking about serving a mission, JUST DO IT!  Best decision you can make.
 
love,
Sister Robertson 
 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pictures!!!

A cool braided hairdo that Sister Randall gave me last week.

My full size comfy bed in our room at a member's home in Dubuque, Iowa.


Halloween cookies our investigator sells. We helped her set up her stand for it. We teach her while we help her.

The craft show where our investigator sells her cookies. It is in Farley, Iowa just south of Dubuque.

Our District meeting at the last transfer meeting.
Missionaries being goof balls. We took silly pictures. That would be me in the middle.

2014 October 13th letter from Dubuque, Iowa

This past week we had a bunch of interesting experiences that helped my testimony grow stronger. One less active lady we visit didn't have much faith or understanding of prayer.  We taught her how to pray and she asked if she could pray to find something she had lost.  Of course you can!  She prayed and less than a minute later she found what she had last and she was so happy and excited that God is real and really does answer prayers that she was hugging me and jumping up and down at the same time shouting, "it works! it works! it really does work!"  It was the cutest thing I had ever seen on my mission.  Afterward she wanted to pray for every little thing she needed help with.  So Cute!  Her testimony was strengthened so much that day.

Sunday we had the chance to attend the evening Sacrament meeting for the Marshallese group of members followed by a birthday celebration for Elder Ackley and dinner.  They don't have their own branch yet for the Marshallese so they do a sacrament meeting once a month on fast Sunday as a break the fast.  We got to wear translation headphones to hear it in English too.

We were able to get in contact with a lot of people this past week that we had struggled to in previous weeks and reconnect with them.  We got a few referrals too which we normally struggle to get from members or other people. 

We also helped Rita make several dozen Halloween sugar cookies and frost and decorate them all for her bake sale last week.  She has been struggling to receive an answer about our church but she lets us do service for her and hopefully as we talk with her more she will open up.  We have only been able to get her to church for a relief society activity over a month ago and that's all.

Yesterday we finally got a young family to come to church, but the mother felt like she was being judged for her squiggly baby and her clothes and she left sacrament meeting early to go home.  It was really disappointing and we had explained everything before hand as well and after the fact.  I hope they will try it out again next week.  We have been having a really hard time getting people to come to the church building even for a church tour during the week.  

Today we are waiting for our transfer calls.  This past transfer was only 5 weeks for some reason so it went by really fast.  Everyone says they know Sister Randall is leaving Dubuque, but we'll find out for sure later today.  I'll miss her, we have fun together, but I am also excited to serve with a new companion if that's God's will and get to know somebody new.

Some of my favorite counsel from Conference (insights, not word for word):

Human judgment and logical thinking will not be enough.  Everyone needs revelation to receive Salvation.

Be unified with our Prophet and Apostles; don't have any doubts and concern over their counsel

"Acknowledge and face your weaknesses"
Cease withholding our means because we think the poor bring it upon themselves, "aren't' we all beggars?" 

It will always be easier to keep the Savior by our side with the help of a righteous companion. 

physical fitness affects our Spirit and also what we eat too; treat your body as a temple. 

God will not assume the "role of puppet master"...we have to work hard and do our part. 

No struggle is too great, no sacrifice too hard to get to the temple!

Show through how you live your life that this Gospel is true. 

I hope you were all able to watch conference.  Every session, so you don't miss out on the counsel and blessings that your Heavenly Father has in store for you right now in your life. :)

Love
Sister Robertson